It's never easy, and it's rarely pleasant, for either party.
But if you don't deal with them, and deal with them quickly, it can not only be bad for teams performance but also bad for your reputation too.
Here are three reasons why you need to address poor performers quickly.
Sign of weak leadership
Leaders who just let poor performance continue with no attempt to address it are often perceived as weak leaders, and that's not a good reputation to be building for yourself, especially if you're a new leader.
Teams expect leaders to take action, to address the situation, and if they don't and it starts to impact the overall team performance, then this can also be interpreted as you're not interested in the overall results. That success isn't important for you.
Limit the impact
When that happens, it can cause other people within the team to let their performance slip and to become disengaged. This can then start the performance levels to spiral downwards and turn a small issue into a major crisis.
This doesn't mean that you need to adopt a hire and fire approach, where anyone who's performance is not up to standard is let go.
Sign of poor leadership
Part of the leadership role is coaching, and you need to be seen to be supporting the under-performers, giving them advice and guidance. Helping them to turn around the situation and get things back on track.
Sometimes you have to make the tough decisions, and after giving people enough opportunity to improve, if things don't start to get better then you may be left with no option to terminate.
However, in my experience when things are not going well, more often than not it's because of:
- a lack of clarity about the role and responsibility
- a lack of clarity around the objectives
- a lack of skills or training required for the role
- a lack of the tools needed to complete the task
Which, if not addressed by you, is again a sign of poor leadership, as it's the leader's role to put their staff in a position where they can be successful.
When we give people an opportunity to be successful, they usually take it.
No one really comes to work looking to do a bad job; everyone wants to leave at the end of the day feeling like they have earned their money, that they did a good job.
The sooner you can deal with poor performers, the sooner you can prevent any lasting damage to either team performance or your reputation.
And if you can help them turn it around and become successful, then it will actually enhance your reputation.
Don't let poor performance fester, step in and take the right actions needed to fix it.