Managing Poor Performance

How to manage performance issues wisely


Empowerment Boost

Feel empowered and confident in managing challenges with tailored performance improvement strategies.

Skill Mastery

Master emotional intelligence and communication skills for impactful leadership and relationship building.

Positive Impact

Transform your team's productivity and morale by setting clear expectations and fostering a culture of accountability.

Refine your communication skills by learning to harness your emotional intelligence with one of the UK's most acclaimed management training courses.

Why Choose This Training?

More Than Just A Course Of Lectures

What gets in the way of developing and holding on to new communication skills are old habits of thinking and speaking. Even if the advice is very good the reason why it rarely sticks are the mental habits people inevitably revert to, especially under pressure.

Unlearning those old habits and internalising a more effective and lasting approach to communication needs more than a short course of lectures on how to do it.

What Makes This Training Stand Out?

What makes this training stand out is the exceptional support through one-to-one coaching sessions and continuous feedback. Changing behaviour is not an easy task as old habits are hard to break.

With a 40-year track record we can help you cultivate practical skills, and build your confidence to so you can successfully navigate real-world challenges, ensuring lasting behavioural improvements.


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"What I love about this course is that I didn't just learn about the topic, this course is about ME.  I'm confident I can reliably use my new skills, even when under pressure".

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"A lesson for life! The power of effective communication is incredible when one masters the skills "listening with empathy" and "speaking assertively"

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Well-known companies who have used this course again and again, over many years

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Course Summary

Training Objectives

Dealing with poor performance at work can be tough. A surprising fact is that most managers face this challenge. This training course will guide you through managing an underperforming team member effectively.

  • Managing poor performance boosts team productivity and sets high expectations.
  • Talks about underperformance should be clear, immediate, and documented for effective management.
  • Strategies like encouraging accountability, recognising strengths, and providing honest feedback help in dealing with poor performance.
  • Tailoring action plans to specific types of poor performance ensures the right solutions are applied.
  • Regular reviews, mentoring, setting SMART goals, altering responsibilities, and coaching are key steps in improving employee performance.

Develop Your Emotional Intelligence

You will learn a set of powerful emotional intelligence communication techniques so that you can manage difficult conversations, handle challenging situations, build relationships and set firm boundaries.

Transferable Skills

The goal of this training is to equip you with the tools you need to build strong, lasting relationships in your professional life, although because these skills are so transferable many clients report vast improvements in their personal relationships as well.

Develop Skills

This is a skills development rather than just a theoretical programme, so the emphasis throughout will be on you taking turn after turn, practising your skills, while receiving feedback and coaching about your effect on others.

Repeated Practice and Feedback

In your coaching sessions you will be helped to practise dealing with the kinds of situation you find challenging, again and again, until you are confident you can do it successfully.

Video Analysis

We'll combine practical, hands-on experience with video replay and analysis and discussion of the principles involved to help you gain both skills and understanding. Special attention is paid to your individual training needs, so you can practise your skills in real-life situations that you have to handle at work.

Sustained Change

That's why as well as your place in a small group, this training includes a generous amount of private and confidential one-to-one coaching sessions online, spread over several months, ensuring an exceptional level of support. This will ensure the changes you make are sustained over a longer period of time and any obstacles are overcome. Choose between online training available worldwide, or in-person face-to-face courses in the UK.

Course Dates and Price

For a list of upcoming course dates (for online coaching and face-to-face training), the locations of the next 3-day public courses in the UK and pricing Click here.

Free Initial Session

This initial coaching session serves as an introduction to the "Skills with People" course, allowing you to understand the course's relevance and effectiveness for your specific needs before committing to it.

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People who feel understood are more receptive

The Importance of Managing Poor Performance

Managing poor performance is key to keeping your team moving forward. It ensures everyone is on the same page, aiming for success.

Improved team productivity

Dealing with poor performance boosts team productivity. Everyone starts to meet expectations once clear goals are in place. It's like fixing a slow machine - suddenly, everything runs smoother and faster.

Setting high standards means people know what to aim for. Trust grows as employees see managers handle underperforming staff fairly. This makes the whole team work better together.

They all push harder, knowing their effort makes a real difference.

Setting high standards and expectations

Boosting team productivity sets the stage for us to tackle another crucial step - setting high standards and expectations. This means making it clear what you expect from every employee in terms of performance.

It's not just about throwing big goals at them, but rather defining achievable targets that push them to do better. You tell them, "This is what excellent work looks like," and help them understand how they can reach these levels.

High standards motivate employees to improve their skills and knowledge. They aim higher, learn more, and feel proud when they hit those tough targets. To make this happen, managers need to provide the necessary training and support.

This approach turns underperforming employees around because they know exactly what success looks like - and that it’s within their grasp if they put in the effort.

Building trust

Building trust is key in managing poor performance. It starts by setting clear expectations and standards. You need to be honest with your employees about their performance issues.

This helps them understand what they're doing wrong and how they can improve. Trust grows when you treat everyone fairly and keep your promises.

Having regular meetings is a good way to build trust, too. In these, ask for your team's thoughts on improving work processes. Listen carefully and take action where possible. This shows that you value their input and consider their ideas seriously.

Next, let's look at why tackling poor performance feels tough for some people.

Enhancing employee motivation

Boosting motivation among employees can truly transform a workplace. It starts with knowing what makes each staff member tick. Some might need recognition, while others thrive on new challenges or skills development.

Offering these can make them feel valued and part of the team's success.

Creating a positive environment is key - where feedback is constructive and regular, and achievements don't go unnoticed. This approach helps employees understand their role in reaching company goals.

They become more motivated to improve performance, driving the business forward as they grow.

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People can't help arguing when they feel misunderstood

Why Some People Find Managing Poor Performance Difficult

Talking about an employee's poor performance is tough. Managers often worry about hurting feelings or making things awkward at work. They fear the conversation might go poorly, leading to anger or tears.

Handling these delicate situations requires skill and confidence, which not everyone feels they have. It's easier for some to hope problems will fix themselves rather than face difficult conversations.

Also, there's a fear of legal issues. A formal procedure has rules that must be followed precisely. Managers dread making mistakes that could lead to trouble with trade union representatives or even court cases.

They worry about finding the right words and keeping records in case decisions are questioned later on. This makes managing poor performance seem like walking through a minefield rather than just part of the job.

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He's now far more aware of his impact on others

Identifying and Addressing Poor Performance

Spotting poor performance early is key. Quick, clear action can help sort it out.

Establish the issue

First, pinpoint what's going wrong. Look at the employee's performance closely. Are they missing deadlines? Is their work quality not up to scratch? Figuring out the root cause is key.

It might be a lack of skills, personal issues or maybe they don't quite get what's expected of them.

Next step - talk about it clearly and soon. Don't wait for a formal meeting to bring it up. Quick chats can often solve things before they get big. Make sure you have all the facts right and keep notes.

This way, if things don't improve, you've got evidence for more formal action down the line.

Address it immediately

As soon as you spot poor performance, take action. This stops small issues from turning big. Talk to the employee about what you've noticed. It's key not to wait; delaying can make things worse.

Having this chat right away shows you care and want to help them improve. It sets a clear standard of expected performance and shows that everyone is held accountable. Quick actions lead to quicker solutions, helping both the team and the individual get back on track faster.

Document the process

Keeping track of an employee's underperformance is key. Use notes and records from the very start. This includes dates, details of meetings, agreed-upon actions, and any changes in performance.

It helps to have a clear picture if things don't improve.

This record will be useful for creating a performance improvement plan later on. It also makes sure everyone involved understands what's happening. Plus, it's good proof if formal steps are needed down the line.

Ask questions

To manage poor performance, it's key to ask the right questions. This involves talking with the employee who isn't doing well. Find out why they are struggling. It could be a lack of skills, not understanding tasks, or personal issues.

By asking, you show that you care and want to help them improve.

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She now feels more confident in tackling people

Strategies for Dealing with Poor Performance

Finding the right way to handle poor performance can turn things around, making your team stronger and more focused. Here are some strategies.

Encouraging accountability

To encourage accountability, managers need to set clear expectations. They must tell each employee what is expected from them and by when. This clarity helps employees understand their goals and how they fit into the bigger picture.

It's also vital that managers follow up regularly. Checking in not just shows you care but also keeps everyone on track.

Giving direct feedback plays a big part too. When an employee fails to meet standards, let them know promptly and clearly why this is a problem. But it's important to balance this with support -- show them how to improve.

Offer resources or additional training if needed. This approach makes employees feel responsible for their actions and more motivated to get better at their job.

Recognising strengths

Moving from encouraging accountability, recognising strengths plays a crucial role. It's all about seeing what each team member does best. This approach helps improve their performance by focusing on their skills.

By doing so, you make them feel valued and confident.

Spotting and praising these strengths ensures employees know their efforts are seen. This positivity boosts morale and motivation across the board. Everyone starts to aim higher, wanting to match the high standards set within the team.

It's a simple yet effective way to keep everyone moving forward, together.

Providing honest feedback

Giving honest feedback is crucial for managing poor performance. It helps employees know where they stand and what they need to improve. Make sure the feedback is clear and focused on behaviours, not personal traits.

Use specific examples to show where things went wrong and discuss possible solutions together. This approach builds trust and encourages a positive attitude towards change.

Avoid sugar-coating or being too harsh. Balance is key – you want to motivate, not discourage. Regular, constructive feedback paves the way for better performance and goal achievement.

It's an effective method to help staff feel confident about their work and understand how they can grow within your team or organisation.

Creating a performance improvement plan

A performance improvement plan (PIP) serves as a formal document. It aims to help employees who are underperforming. The plan sets clear, achievable goals and outlines the resources needed for success.

Managers work closely with the employee to identify root causes of issues. Together, they set specific objectives within a reasonable timeframe.

To ensure progress, regular feedback sessions are part of the process. This approach encourages accountability and helps in tracking improvements in performance management. By focusing on technical knowledge and interpersonal skills, employees find a clear path towards meeting expected standards.

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Are you helping them think for themselves?

Understanding Different Types of Poor Performance

Poor performance isn't all the same. Sometimes, it's about not hitting targets or failing to meet deadlines. Other times, employees might struggle with skills or lack motivation. Knowing the difference is key to finding the right fix.

For example, skill gaps need training while low motivation may require boosting morale.

Action plans work best when tailored to the specific problem. If someone keeps missing goals because they don't understand them, clarifying expectations could be enough. On the other hand, a change in role might solve issues for those who can't keep up due to skills mismatch.

Always consider the root cause before deciding on a solution.

Ways to Improve Poor Performance

To lift performance, it's key to blend purpose with clear goals and supportive mentoring—dive in for more insights.

Establishing a sense of purpose

Giving employees a strong sense of purpose is key to improving performance. It helps them understand why their work matters. This boosts motivation and makes the team feel valued. When people see the bigger picture, they connect better with their tasks.

They know they play a critical part in the company's success.

Managers should talk about goals and how each person’s role fits into achieving them. This clarity turns everyday jobs into important missions. Employees underperform less when they're driven by a clear purpose.

They strive harder, aiming for those performance goals we all value so much.

Conducting regular performance reviews

Conducting regular performance reviews helps spot performance problems early. This allows for a quicker response to help an employee improve. These sessions are crucial for providing feedback, both positive and negative, in a structured way.

They create a space where goals can be set together with the employee, ensuring they feel supported and understood.

Including these reviews as part of your strategy makes sure that no one feels left out or unfairly treated. It encourages employees to look forward to improving their skill set rather than fearing feedback sessions.

Regular check-ins foster a culture of growth and continuous improvement within the team, making it easier to tackle any issues head-on before they become bigger problems.

Providing mentoring

After going through regular performance reviews, providing mentoring becomes a key step. Mentoring helps employees find their way if they're struggling. A mentor can share experiences and offer advice that's hard to find anywhere else.

This one-on-one support boosts motivation and confidence.

Mentors give employees a safe space to share thoughts and worries. They help them tackle challenges by suggesting practical solutions. This personal approach often leads to better performance and more growth for the employee.

Setting achievable goals

Mentoring brings clarity, but setting achievable goals transforms that clarity into action. Goals give employees a clear aim and a way to measure success. To do this well, think simple and specific.

Set goals small enough that they don't scare but big enough to push growth. This balance keeps motivation high and sets the stage for positive change.

Using SMART goals -- specific, measurable, achievable, relevant, and time-bound -- turns vague dreams into concrete steps. For example, instead of saying "improve sales," say "increase sales by 10% in three months." This method makes it easier for one employee or an entire team to see exactly what they need to do and by when.

Such precision cuts down confusion and builds a road map towards improvement.

Implementing SMART goals

Implementing SMART goals is all about making sure each target is Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Relevant, and Time-bound. This method turns vague ideas into a clear plan. For example, instead of saying "improve employee performance," you set a goal like "increase sales by 10% in the next quarter." It's easy to see if you hit this mark or not.

Plus, it shows employees exactly what they need to do.

SMART goals give everyone a roadmap. They link directly to improving motivation and providing feedback -- both key for fixing poor performance. Workers know where they stand and how to better themselves.

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Learn how to be both firm and fair

Making a Plan of Action

Making a Plan of Action is all about deciding how you'll tackle poor performance, turning plans into real steps forward.. Read on to find out how.

Altering responsibilities

Changing job tasks can be a smart move. This lets workers try new things where they might do better. It's like finding the right spot where someone can shine, making them more motivated and productive.

Sometimes, what one is doing now just isn't working out. So, shifting gears could be the key to avoiding failure.

After figuring out a different role that fits better, it's time to lay out a plan for improvement. This means putting together a Performance Improvement Plan that maps out how to get back on track.

The goal? To turn things around with clear steps and support in place. Now, onto providing that crucial coaching..

Creating a Performance Improvement Plan

Creating a Performance Improvement Plan starts with identifying the key areas where an employee needs to improve. This plan outlines specific, achievable goals within a reasonable time frame.

It's essential to be clear and detailed in what success looks like, providing feedback that guides rather than discourages.

Next, involve the employee in setting these goals to encourage accountability. Regular check-ins keep the plan on track while allowing adjustments as needed. A good plan also includes support like training or mentoring, showing a commitment to employee growth rather than just focusing on negatives.

Providing coaching

After setting up a Performance Improvement Plan, giving coaching comes next. Coaching offers one-on-one support. It helps employees understand where they need to get better. A coach listens and provides feedback.

This is not just any feedback; it focuses on helping the person grow.

Coaching also prepares people for formal hearings if needed. It makes sure everyone knows what is expected of them. Through regular chats, coaches find out more about the worker's strengths and work with them to improve areas that are lacking.

Using clear goals, like SMART goals, coaching turns tough situations into chances for growth.

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How aware are you of your effect on others?

Implementing the Plan

Once you've got your plan ready, it's time to put it into action. Keep an eye on how things are going and chat regularly about progress..

Tracking progress

Keep an eye on how things are going. Use charts or lists to see small wins and areas needing work. It's like a map that shows where you're doing well and where you need to push harder.

This helps everyone stay on track.

Regular check-ins matter too. They let you give positive feedback or suggest changes early on. It's all about being open and honest, not waiting until things go off course. By doing this, you make sure the plan stays alive and adjusts as needed.

Setting up regular feedback sessions

Setting up regular feedback sessions is a game-changer. It's all about keeping communication open and honest. You'll want to schedule these chats often, making them a normal part of the week.

This helps everyone know where they stand. It's your chance to provide feedback, both good and bad. And yes, it can feel tricky at first.. but with time, it becomes easier for you and your team.

Make sure these sessions are two-way streets; listen as much as you talk. Employees should feel comfortable sharing their thoughts too. This is key for building trust and motivation within the team.

A consistent approach helps in making negative feedback seem less daunting and more like a step towards improvement.

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People used to be scared of him - no longer

Evaluating Results and Making Necessary Changes

Checking how things are going is key. Look at the progress made after putting your plan into action. This step is about seeing what worked and what didn't. If something isn't giving you the results you hoped for, it's time to think again.

Find a better solution that suits your team more.

Making changes is all about being flexible and open to trying new methods. Sometimes, even with the best plans, you might not hit your target the first time around. That's okay! Learning from these situations helps you find a more reasonable approach next time, keeping everyone moving forward together.

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Now by involving people he takes them with him

Managing Poor Performance FAQs

1. What does managing poor performance mean?

Well, it's about finding the best solution when someone at work isn't doing their job right. It involves understanding why they're struggling and helping them get better.

2. Why do people perform poorly at work?

There are lots of reasons, really... Sometimes, folks might not know how to do something or feel unsure. Other times, they might just be going through a lot outside of work.

3. How can we fix poor performance?

The key is talking things out - figuring out what's wrong and coming up with a plan together. Giving clear advice and enough time to improve is super important.

4. Is there a guide for handling this stuff?

Yes! The Harvard Business Review talks about it quite a bit... They suggest being fair but firm, making sure everyone knows what's expected from them.

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The first session is free so you're not committing yourself until you're sure this training is relevant for you. You will also learn something practical you can use right away that'll help you handle a difficult situation more successfully at work.

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