Ways to manage high and low performers
Watch out for the “Pygmalion Effect.” This means that your staff rises or falls to your expectations. In other words, if you have low expectations, then they will move to meet your low expectations. The opposite is also true; if you have high expectations, then your employees will move to meet your high expectations.
Focus on making progress toward a longer term goal, and reward that progress, even if it is only one baby step after another. By rewarding small steps to the larger performance goal, you will also feel less frustration because you know your efforts with the low performers are paying off.
Reassign or Fire Chronic Low Performers
The third lesson is to cut your losses relatively early. Our country’s goal is to increase employment, but as a manager or CEO you also have a responsibility to your boss or stockholders, to your company, and your customers.
There are two ways to address chronic low performers. First, if after setting clear expectations, monitoring their performance, giving feedback about their performance, coaching them, and then letting them know about the consequences of underperforming, you see no improvement, you should let them go.
Second, if your company cannot afford to let any employees go in order to keep the operation running, you should reassign the chronic low performers. When you reassign an employee, you protect the majority of those that are performing well from a smaller group that could persuade them to lower performance across the board or distract the higher performers.
Picture yourself three to six months from now after experimenting with these three recommendations. Not only will you have a plan for all performers but you will have dedicated more time, energy and resources to those performers with the greatest payoff. Your time is precious; you can only focus on so much. You have to be selective about what you focus upon. You have to prioritize. Be sure to do this when you are managing performance in your company and feel confident that your investment will pay off for you, your company and your customers.
Dr. Marty Martin has been speaking and training nationally and internationally for more than 30 years. Currently, he is working on Taming Disruptive Behavior, which will be published by The American College of Physician Executives (ACPE) in late 2012. Dr. Martin is the director of the Health Sector Management MBA Concentration and associate professor in the College of Commerce at DePaul University in Chicago, Ill., and practices at Aequus Wealth Management. For more information, please visit http://www.drmartymartin.com.