As a leader, ideally, you’ve built a relationship with each of your employees. You’ve swapped stories about your families, collaborated on successful work projects, and built the emotional capital necessary to have a successful team- most of the time.
However, being a leader means that sometimes you are confronted with the challenge of how to best handle delicate situations, such as addressing the performance issues of your team.
Even great teams at times, for one reason or another, don’t perform to the expected standard.
You, as a leader, may have the urge to avoid the situation and hope it goes away. The reality, though, is there are problems and the longer they go on without being talked about - the worse they will get.
Make sure to not call a team meeting if your issue is about one individual team member. Honor your team’s time by addressing issues that are relevant to the unit as a whole and save individual conversations for another time.
Below are three tips to help your team to move past their performance issue and onward.
Tip #1: Acknowledge the Issue
Like flipping on a light switch in a dark room, gather your team together and acknowledge there is an issue. In the Fierce Team Model, we teach how to conduct a Beach Ball meeting. We call it a Beach Ball meeting, because we view each employee on a team as a stripe of color - like on a beach ball. Each stripe of color represents a different perspective.
This type of meeting allows you, the leader, to create a setting where you come to the table with your team and address an issue collaboratively. This is a great way to tackle a subject like a team’s performance, because it removes the punitive feeling that is associated with this topic and encourages the team to come to a solution together.
Tip #2: Get Curious and Open it Up for Dialogue
After you call out the issue, allow each employee’s perspectives to be heard. Your goal is to facilitate this conversation by listening and helping your team solve the current challenges.
Don’t immediately dismiss an excuse, instead ask: Given our team’s goals, what can we do to achieve them? What will help us move forward?
Tip #3: Create an Action Plan
The final step is to create an action plan. Ask the team: Knowing what the team knows now, what is everyone committing to do over the next week, month, and year? Get specific! Assign responsibilities and schedule a time for everyone to reconnect on progress.
If one meeting isn’t enough to tackle the issue and you don’t have time to get to this critical step, schedule the next meeting right then. It’s also possible that some of your team members might have individual issues that don’t apply to the unit as a whole. Address their concerns by setting up a time to meet with them one-on-one and create specific next steps for them.
[tweetable text="Addressing an issue like performance can be a hard, yet necessary, component of leadership." tweet="“Addressing an issue like performance can be a hard, yet necessary, component of leadership.” via @fierce_inc"] In the end though, addressing an issue in an open and communicative matter strengthens the relationship with individuals as well as your team as whole.
As a leader, how do you address performance issues?