Grasping the Nettle of Problem Performance or Behaviour
I have been listening to a number of managers recently who are feeling frustrated by colleagues and staff who aren’t doing what they should be doing or are behaving in ways that the manager finds unacceptable.
What really stands out for me is how much time and energy is being spent on these issues. The “problem” person is being discussed with numerous people, being thought about an inordinate amount of time, and is causing stress and frustration left right and centre.
In most cases, the “problem” person isn’t even aware there’s a problem. The manager is talking to everyone except the person involved.
It’s similar to driving along a road when someone suddenly zooms past and cuts you up. You are furious. “How dare they!” “They shouldn’t be allowed on the road!” etc. You complain to whoever will listen, about the injustice of it all. You might even feel angry long after the event, whenever you think about it. Meanwhile the driver is oblivious to what they’ve done and the impact they’ve had on you.
The difference is, with colleagues at work you have the opportunity to address it. In fact, you have a professional responsibility to do so. If someone is under performing in terms of results, or behaviours, they need to be made aware of it and given the opportunity and support to put it right.
I don’t believe anyone sets out to be a poor performer. If they are falling short, there are numerous possible reasons for it. The most common ones are:
- They don’t know what to do
- They don’t know how to do it
- They don’t know why they should do it
- They think they are doing it
So, the next time you’re feeling frustrated by the actions or inaction of someone at work, just stop and think about why this might be happening. What could be getting in the way? Then go and have a frank conversation with them to discuss:
- Specifically what they are doing or not doing that isn’t working for you
- How their actions are impacting you, others or the task
- What you need them to do differently
- How they are going to achieve that, and what support they need
Just think, if someone at work was talking to everyone except you about an aspect of your work that they found unacceptable, would you rather they talk to you, or to everyone but you?
Is it time to grasp the nettle? You’ll need to make the first move.