I am certain nobody wakes up in the morning and decides to go to work to do a really bad job. You would not plan to have a bad day at work and not achieve what you go there to do.
There are many valid reasons for underperformance in the workplace. A team leader or manager moves the business in a certain direction, and aims to create the culture of the business.
‘When faced with underperformance, a leader is able assess the reasons why. Failure to do so leads to a blame culture of underperformance and a spirit of apathy’
They aim to create and encourage performance. This means the performance of the team members directly correlates with the behaviours and values of the leader. So, a leader who fails to communicate or has bad timekeeping provides a catalyst for similar behaviours within the team. A leader who has clear goals and visions reflects this in their team.
A true leader has to have the ability to understand others and understand what motivates a person to perform. They will ensure that a team achieves and maintains a level of work that is expected of them and will provide a consistent mechanism to identify failure to do so.
Perhaps regular discussions, appraisals or performance related reviews are considered suitable systems for consistency. This allows early identification of a problem and an opportunity to take action promptly.
A US scholar and leadership studies pioneer, Warren Bennis, published that leaders:
• Focus on people, not systems
• Challenge the status quo; don’t accept it
• Have their eye on the horizon not the bottom line
• Do the right thing, instead of just doing things right.
Lack of direction, confidence and self-esteem are key factors for loss of momentum in the workplace. Leaders are responsible to identify, instil confidence, set direction and focus on the end result.
When faced with underperformance, a leader is able assess the reasons why. Failure to do so leads to a blame culture of underperformance and a spirit of apathy. Even the most motivated lose spirit, and a downhill spiral takes effect leading to a general acceptance of poor performance. This behaviour spreads throughout the workplace and becomes the ‘norm’.
To tackle underperformance, we have to acknowledge and create high-performing leaders; leaders who can communicate and replicate a high performing team.
An individual’s ability and motivation effects performance which means successful efforts to improve performance must look at both. This creates a positive environment where team members feel supported to reach their potential; and feel valued, knowing that the workplace wants them to excel. In conclusion a high performing team requires a high-performing leader.
A high-performing leader requires appropriate leadership training.
Evidence shows that underperformance derives from the following:
• Inadequate leadership
• Poor/no training
• Vague/ no job descriptions
• Poor relationships
• No clear vision or goals
• Poor working conditions
• Health issues
• Company politics