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Performance Issues 101

Every time I talk to leaders or managers about performance issues my first question is always "Are these people well supervised?" 95% of the time I find that that they are not and that's the cause of poor performance. Yet, we don't train people how to supervise their people but we brainwashed them with "DO NOT micromanage" so they don't do either. There is an in-between. 

Everyone needs guidance, direction, training, clear expectations, attention, a timeline, and 5 minutes of your time and when people don't get that they go and do what they want to or think is the best. These are the foundation of good performance and not necessarily training or competency acquisition. You can conduct every training under the sun if people are badly supervised you will be wasting your money. 

When there is poor performance don't address the employees, address the supervisors, managers, and leaders. Signs of poor supervision:

  • The cleaner is sitting in the toilet watching TikTok videos

  • Employees are making shortcuts impacting the outcome

  • Employees miss deadlines, or tasks are not completed at all or on time

  • Employees disappear and the manager has no idea where they are

  • Employees are left to get themselves organised

  • When there is a health and safety issue and nobody spotted it for a long time

  • When standards are not followed 

  • When documents are not updated

  • When supervisors, managers, or leaders are surprised by a comment they receive about their team

You get the drill, right? Most of the time poor supervision is the cause of poor performance. Mix that with the supervisor's, manager's or leader's lack of ability to plan, and think for their team and you are going to fail.

You might think, "Hold on, it is micromanagement" but that's just not true. Micromanagement is excessive supervision - where managers feel the need to control aspects of their employees' work & decision-making to an extreme degree - more than is necessary or healthy for a usual working relationship. I am not talking about that, I am talking about your people not doing their job and you standing by either not noticing it or not addressing it. 

Here is an example as it always works for me:

  • The beach in the resort is dirty because the sea washes rubbish ashore. I speak to the person whose job is to keep it clean. Of course, there is a story of why it is not clean so I say, "Can we make sure you come down here twice a day and clean it?" Then I go and check once a day EVERY DAY, and make sure the person knows by reporting back with feedback. I report when it is dirty and report when it is clean and say well done. I only had to do this for three consecutive days and on day four, as I walked towards the beach the person walked to me saying "Im cleaning the lounges and I am heading to the beach after that." My response was, "You are amazing". That's it! I do the same when I train people on something new or when I implement something because I know that they will not start doing things because I trained them. They will start doing things because they are supervised. 

People will perform under attention because we all want to be seen and it gives you the perfect opportunity to address their challenges as they eventually start talking to you if there is a valid reason why they cannot do their job according to the required standard. 

There is no performance where there is no supervision. Where do you think the saying "If you don't measure it, it won't get done" comes from? It is the same principle. And if you supervise well and people still don't perform you move into official performance management and deal with the person accordingly. 

Keep your eyes on your employees because as a supervisor, manager or leader that is the job. They will appreciate it trust me. 

Exciting news! My second book, "Blind Leading the Disengaged - From Kindergarten to Employee Experience," is dropping in April! It's a treasure trove of solutions and cool ideas to shake up your people management game. But before we get there, let's chat about where we're at now—The Corporate Kindergarten, as I spilt the beans in my first book. Check it out, and let's transform your workplace from a daycare to an awesome employee experience hub!:

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