“John, I’m afraid you have to leave.” “What! Why me?” “Well…you were never very good.” “I’ve been here 20 years. Why didn’t you ever tell me?”
I believe the reason we do not confront poor performance early is we don’t have a solution for the problem. Yes most of us don’t like conflict, or don’t know how to raise the issue, but I reckon the real reason we don’t talk about poor performance is that we don’t have a solution for it.
We don’t want to confront the issue until we have a solution.
However in my experience it is best not to have a solution before you confront it, “the solution” actually comes out of being honest and open with the employee about the problem.
When you confront the issue you will likely find:
1. They were not aware of what was expected and will make change
2. They come to see they don’t fit the job or the culture and both parties can then talk about a better fit, either inside or outside the company
3. They will remain completely oblivious of the problem or unable to change and will need to be moved on.
Being open and honest and putting the issue on the table is key. From my experience it is not about having a plan all worked out for how you are going to deal with the performance, it’s simply about starting a conversation and taking the appropriate action as it becomes clear.
Is this something you can relate to? What other reasons are there for us not confronting poor performance? Comment below.