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What is the Worst Advice About Managing Poor Performance

There is no question that managing workers is a complicated task that requires the appropriate application of interpersonal and strategic skills. The success of a business depends on involving employees in company objectives, so they are motivated to focus on good performance. Poor worker performance is an outcome of:

- selecting the wrong employees for particular jobs,

- using inappropriate management methods to direct employees efforts, and

- relying on these methods to generate improved performance.

What NOT to Do When Managing Poor Performance

Management is perhaps more accountable than employees for poor workplace performance because it decides how operations are run. Bad workflow design and inept administration of strategy can lead to poor performance. Managers can also make their jobs more difficult by engaging in behaviors that alienate workers, compromising their leadership and workers' commitment to excellence.

The persistence of outdated, top-down, minimal incentive management practices invades all areas of corporate culture and maintains poor worker performance rather than changing it for the better. Conditions will not improve if management accepts these ideas as useful:

- Blaming employees for poor performance: Yes, some workers refuse to do their jobs correctly, others are inept, and some try only half the time. Yet, employees rely on management to provide clear instructions about work and appropriate guidance when things go wrong. Pushing the burden onto workers doesn't fix anything and generally prolongs performance problems.

- Retaining bad workers: It's HR's job to hire appropriately qualified employees and provide training when necessary. If you've identified people who don't want to work or can't acquire the skills you need, these issues must be addressed quickly. Workers failing to progress or develop their performance should be let-go, or shifted to jobs more suitable to them. Taylor Protocols' Core Values Index is an HR technology that helps management get the right people in the right jobs.

- Intermittent feedback: Employees benefit from being told about their performance. Regular feedback reports to them what's right, and what's wrong, about the job performance. It should assume the form of positively-focused comments made soon after an incident/event involving a particular employee or team. Solely negative remarks are of no use.

- Withholding job information: Employees depend on management for appropriate direction. Neglecting to give workers instruction, counsel or related information about their job responsibilities almost guarantees poor performance because they'll have an ill-informed idea of what's expected of them.

- Using job appraisals to intimidate employees: Fear is a lousy motivator. Trying to generate effective performance by threatening employees with poor appraisals or using appraisals as cautionary warnings seldom works. Rather, this approach is a deterrent to improved performance, virtually assuring adversarial employee/management relations, breeding ill-will, while eliminating worker loyalty to the firm.

- Failing to engage or trust workers: Workers are more than replaceable managerial pawns. It's a mistake to think you already know what they're thinking or that they require constant monitoring to ensure they're actually working. Distrust among management about workers' intentions or honesty leads to employee skepticism, lower morale, limited motivation, and poor performance.

- Over-scheduling jobs and workers: Similar to distrusting employees' willingness to work is over-scheduling workflows and worker participation. It's unrealistic to think all jobs can always fit a precise timetable, that there won't be downtime, and that workers are failing if there is. Schedules are necessary to assure work is completed in due course, but relying on a minute-by-minute agenda reflects dream time more than it does real time.

These methods of managing poor performance are typical of top-down corporate structures, which culturally emphasize the primacy of management over worker contributions. At Taylor we know the objective is assuring the right people are in the right positions, and, moreover, that enabling workers to excel inspires good job performance.

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