Not long ago I had a conversation with a manager who is struggling in his job. The company is unhappy with both his performance and his attitude.
During our discussion I could see there were three key issues creating the performance gap between where he currently was, and where the company wanted him to be.
1. Lack of clarity on HOW to close the gap. This is common; I see all too often. A manager will sit down and tell someone where he/she is falling short, and where he or she needs to be to close the gap. What's often lacking is any idea of how to get from the current place to the goal.
Most managers aren't even aware of this. They assume the employee knows how to get where he/she needs to be, or that they covered it in the meeting. You might ask why the employee doesn't tell the manager they don't know how to do what they're being asked. Well, often they too assume they know how, or they don't want to show any weakness when they're already struggling.
Here's a simple test. Your employee should be able to tell you exactly what he/she is going to start doing, or stop doing, or do differently, and it is something you should be able to see or hear them do. That last part is critical.
2. Lack of a specific plan to close the gap. It makes no difference if you're trying to help an employee grow her average sale by $4, or she is on final probation. As a leader, your role is to partner with your employee in creating a specific plan to close the gap.
It should not only include the "how", but also specific day/dates of when you or another resource will be assisting them. If can be something as simple as: We'll meet every Tuesday morning for four weeks to practice and roleplay.
3. A poor attitude is usually born out of frustration. Most employees want to do a good job. They get frustrated when there is a performance gap, and as a result they get a "bad attitude."
More often than not, if you focus on the first two factors you'll almost always take care of the attitude. If not, you can address that after the person is demonstrating the required behaviors and actions.
As a leader, your role is to help every employee deliver the best performance possible. That often includes helping someone close a performance gap.
So let me ask, who on your staff might need some help closing his/her performance gap?
How to use this article
As a group, discuss what you might do differently to do a better job of leading and coaching your staff through current or future gaps.
About Doug: Doug Fleener, the former director of retail for Bose Corporation, is a speaker and consultant known for bring fresh approaches and powerful actionable ideas to clients and audiences around the world. Learn more at DougFleener.com.