3 Reasons Why People Don’t Perform at Their Best
As leaders, sometimes we struggle to answer why people don’t perform at their best. One of our preoccupations is to get our people to become all that they could be, and do all that they should do. When our people don’t perform to the levels we think they should, I have found that it is usually due to one of these three areas.
Poor Training: They Don’t Know How
I intentionally list this one first because I think this is the most common deficiency. It is pervasive that we as leaders do not provide adequate training for our people. Of course we may think we don’t have the budget or the time to develop such a program, but if we are to excel as a team or organization, we must find a way.
If your people are providing poor customer service, I have a question for you: Have you offered systematic training in customer service? Not a one-time talk by you. Bring in someone from outside the organization to teach you and them how to give world-class customer service.
The problem with training is that it usually boils down to a one-time instruction or event. We must approach training differently. Training in any area should be an on-going process. Consider how the elite units of the military are always training. Moreover training and learning should be the culture. When learning is the culture, success is the result. Demonstrate to your people that everyone will always be training, learning, and growing—by starting with yourself.
Poor Capacity: They Just Can’t
Even with training, perhaps they just can’t do it. Capacity is a person’s ability to acquire the technical skills, interpersonal skills, and basic abilities to excel at a job. I have made this mistake many times. I naturally believe in people and their ability to grow. But sometimes they simply can’t, at least not fast enough.
Let me give you an example. Can a bright high school graduate at 19 years old become a successful CEO of a medium-size company? Theoretically yes, but most likely no. They just don’t have it in them to pull off the job. CEO’s are seasoned leaders. A 19 year old just hasn’t experienced all the intricacies of life to understand leadership.
Some of us are just unable to change in certain areas. While I believe anyone can change, sometimes it take years or decades to change enough. What I personally have had to remember in this area is that I don’t have 5 years or 10 years to wait for a person to become ready for the job. As the leader of the organization, we are the guardians of the dream. We need to bring people with us who already have the emotional maturity and adequate skill set to excel at their position now. We need them to be ready to hit the ground running.
If someone on your team is not performing up to par, could it be that they just don’t have the potential? It is a hard reality, but if someone on your team simply cannot get to where they need to be after reasonable training and coaching, we absolutely must move on. Let them go.
Poor Attitude: They Choose Not To
Some people have the capacity and the ability, but choose not do it. For whatever reason, they seem to have a poor attitude. They wake up on the wrong side of the bed—every day. We have all had a bad attitude at some point in our lives. But professionals give it their 100% effort regardless. And when they can’t, they talk about the reasons they can’t or resign. To learn more about how to handle employees with poor attitudes, read my posts “Bad Attitude, You’re Fired” Part 1 and Part 2.
They are other reasons why people don’t perform at their best. They may not be compensated well. They may perceive that the team is not empowering, or that their personal dreams are not being met in their current position. Perhaps they have personal issues outside of work. Or they feel that the expectations are not clear or even feasible. The reasons can certainly vary. And it is our job as leaders to do our part to bring these to the table. However, it is their responsibility as well to come clean and be open. We need to encourage them toward that. But if they don’t or can’t, and continue with a bad attitude for whatever reason, we must take action. We must protect our team and our dream.
Let’s make sure our people are always at their peak level of performance—not only for the sake of our team, but also for their benefit as well. People like to excel and make a positive impact. Let’s help them get there.
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