4 October 2014
When your employees aren’t performing at the level you want, it’s easy enough to point the finger at the employee. “She’s lazy.” “He’s incompetent.” “I must have shown her how to do this a million times.” We should dig a little deeper into employee performance issues.
It’s time for managers and executives to stop blaming the employee, and start looking in the mirror. If you employ or manage others and they aren’t performing up to expectation, then that’s on you.
If you have an employee performance issue, you ought to look for the cause(s) of the issue. Whether you use a formalized root cause analysis methodology (TapRoot; Apollo; Five Whys; pick your favorite) or not, one thing ought to be clear… if you simply blame the employee, you haven’t dug deep enough.
Now that you want the performance issue to improve and even go away, you’re going to have to look higher up the food chain than just the employee level, and probably higher than the supervisor level, too.
You may have a process or systems problem. That is, your employees mean well, and they have the skills, knowledge, and motivation to perform well, but can’t because they work in a flawed system or process. Improve the process or system, and then see what your employees can accomplish.
You may, in fact, have a problem with the employees. They may be poorly assigned, poorly trained, or underequipped. You can fire them, but you haven’t solved anything by doing that, and you are probably costing the company more to fire and re-hire than to re-assign, re-train, or otherwise re-invest in the employees you have.
Your employees certainly have an obligation to do their best work for your organization. More importantly, you as manager or executive have an obligation to provide a success environment for your employees.
I challenge all managers and executives to take ownership of any employee performance issues that exist in your company. Stop blaming those below you. Step up, and make a change. It starts with you.