What’s the Best Way to Deal with Underperforming Staff?

Heather works in the training department of a large IT organisation. She is responsible for designing and delivering interpersonal skills training, including communication skills, networking, and new management training classes.

Heather has excellent knowledge of how to design a training class. She includes behaviour modelling and practice into all her classes. She has also done research on what good communication consists of, how to network and what new managers need to know to be successful.

Sounds good so far!

However, people who attend Heather’s training classes often give her low ratings, saying that she has a hard time answering specific question. They say that she doesn’t seem approachable after the classes or when individuals want to ask questions.

What do you think may be causing Heather’s under performance?

How do you think a manager should address the problem of poor performance?

We’ll give you our opinion on this blog in a few week’s time. Leave a comment here to give us your suggestions!

How to Be a Great Boss

It can be tough at the top. Here are some top tips to improve your personal success as well as the success of the people working for you.

  • Lead by example. Provide guidance and support and set the benchmark for team cohesiveness and performance.
  • Understand yourself and work on bettering yourself. What are the things you do well and what can you improve? How effective is your management style? By investing time in developing your individual skills you will drive your business forward and reap the rewards in terms of how successfully you lead your team.
  • Be a good all-rounder and play to all your strengths. Technical skills are important but so are soft skills such as people management skills. Do not neglect one in favour of the other.
  • Learn to delegate effectively. You can’t do it all! By relinquishing responsibility to others you are not only ensuring that your efforts are always directed to best effect but also that the people around you feel empowered to make decisions and improve the business.
  • Build a team that can work without you. A team that falls apart when you are on leave or away from the office is not good business.
  • Maintain boundaries: Whilst it is good to develop a good personal relationship with your colleagues, you must establish appropriate boundaries. This will be important during times when you have to make tough decisions that may not always be welcome by others.

What do you do to make sure that you’re a good boss? Share your tips (or mistakes!) with us by leaving a comment here.

5 Tips for Managing Performance with Your Team

As a boss, manager or supervisor, you play an important role in promoting employee commitment, motivation and retention. You are responsible for developing and nurturing your staff.

Here are 5 tips to help you look after your staff and improve their performance, which will lead to improvements in the overall performance of your organisation.

  1. Set meaningful, attainable expectations aligned with the mission and objectives of your business. Be clear about employee expectations and explain any measurements that will be used.
  2. Approach this process as a collaborative effort, engaging staff in the process. Work with your employees to develop appropriate outcomes that support your work and lead to the achievement of organizational goals. Don’t just impose objectives on your staff without first talking to them.
  3. Provide employee access to the necessary tools and resources needed for performance enhancement. Ask about relevant technology, available literature or other materials they need to improve their performance. Provide them with the coaching and mentoring they need and allow time for employees to learn improved methods and procedures.
  4. Continually asses and communicate progress regarding performance. Don’t save all your feedback until the end of the year. Provide employees with mid-year progress reviews and final evaluation feedback. Face-to-face progress reviews and final evaluations should be scheduled in advance. Engage your employees in discussions about the best ways to meet their future goals.
  5. Show appreciation of employee performance through the use of one of the many forms of recognition and reward available to you.

If you need specific help on managing and improving the performance of your staff, to improve the performance of your business, why come to our next free workshop on 22 November? Being held at The Old Post Office in Wargrave, near Henley in Oxfordshire, this is your chance to get some expert advice on your own issues. Click here for more details and to book your place.

How to Boost Profitability in Your Business

Here are 10 ideas to help you improve the profitability of your business through your people.

  1. Build a stimulating and vibrant working environment. A diverse workplace is a profitable workplace. Embrace the many different skills, backgrounds, experiences and attitudes of your staff and direct these to best effect
  2. Focus on training and personal improvement. Make sure every member of you team is given the opportunity to reach their full potential by offering them the training and development they need, in technical and soft skills.
  3. Reward and recognise. By recognising and incentivising staff that reach targets or produce a consistently high quality of work, you will encourage them to strive even harder.
  4. Handle difficult situations quickly. Do not let disciplinary or incapability issues turn into problems. Deal with them in a responsive and positive way to reduce the chances of them happening again.
  5. Have a good recruitment and induction process. Make sure that you always recruit the best person for the job and that they perform to the level you require from day one.
  6. Keep up to date with legislation. This is a key aspect in treating your employees fairly and also a way to constantly building best practice into your people management procedures.
  7. Communicate, communicate, communicate.   Keep your staff informed about how the business is doing. What can they do to help? How does their job fit into the bigger picture of the organisation? This will ensure your employees feel valued, engaged and focussed on the success of the company.
  8. Carry out succession planning. Don’t just rely on the skills and experience of long-standing members of staff but put time and effort into training and mentoring programmes that develop the skills and abilities of younger members of the team. This way you ensure success for the long term and continuity of service for your customers.
  9. Look closely at team dynamics. What teams are working well and how can this be replicated across the business? Look for gaps in team dynamics and skills sets that can affect morale development and work to actively improve them.
  10. Be a good boss. Your behaviour sets the tone for how you expect others to behave. Invest time in working on your own management style and take a top-down approach to improving performance rather than relying on the skills of those around you.

We’ll talk more about how to be a great boss in this blog in a couple of week’s time.

In the meantime, what do you do to improve profitability of your business through your people? Leave a comment here to share your tips.

How Do You Get More From Your Staff? Part Two

In a recent blog we looked at the importance of managing performance as a way of getting more from your staff, without dramatically increasing your costs.

Here are some top tips you can actually put into action, to get more from your people:

  • Provide a stimulating working environment that encourages members of staff to contribute to the progress of your business.
  • Encourage your staff to reach their full potential by providing opportunities to develop their skills through training and development, as well as coaching in the soft skills needed to be an excellent team member.
  • Carry out formal performance reviews on a regular basis, setting clear objectives and achievable targets; don’t wait for annual appraisals.
  • Build good relationships by providing regular informal feedback and guidance; allow your staff to air their concerns within an environment of trust and honesty.
  • Deal with issues as soon as they arise – don’t wait for them to become problems.
  • Offer a clear career path, to encourage employees to be the best they can be and stay with you for the long term.

How do you get more from your people? What have you done that has worked – or not worked? Leave a reply below.

If you still have questions about how to improve the performance of your team, come to our next workshop on 22 November 2012 near Henley. Places are free but limited, so click here for full details.