Many Australian managers tolerate under-performance because they are scared.

Performance management is seen to be a minefield loaded with trip-wires so to play it safe, managers “put up with” poor staff. The reality is that they want you to fire them, and so does your team. They won’t admit it, they probably don’t know it, but you and they are better off parting company.

The team know who is under-performing and being carried. They can see that you as a manager are challenged in dealing with them and so they think “if they don’t have to work hard, why should I.” The overall performance of the team decreases. People want to work for a company who is clear that under-performance will not be tolerated. They want to work for the best and the best don’t accept second best.

If you have someone who is struggling, you need to spend time and resources to work with that person to lift their skills. Give them support and training as needed to return to the required performance level. Maybe an internal mentor can assist getting them back on the path. If you are unable to assist them then you MUST begin the performance improvement process with detailed improvement plans.

It will take a commitment of time and energy – this may be frustrating as you are not getting “real work” done but this is your job. Your first focus has to be your entire team and this often means working with the “dead wood”. If they can’t cut it, work with them to find a job that is more suited, inside or outside the company.

Your team will thank you. They will see that poor performance will not be tolerated. Their pride in the team and what you are all trying to achieve will lift. They will get a strong sense of “high expectations”.

My experience is that people who are fired frequently go on to jobs more suited to them that they enjoy more. In retrospect they often consider being fired or retrenched as one of the best things that have happened to them.

You owe it to yourself to do the following:

  • Be comfortable with Industrial Relations requirements
  • Understand your Performance Improvement Processes
  • Set a “trigger point” to when your processes are activated
  • Review each team member’s performance regularly
  • Share this process with your team

You and your team deserve the best so why would you accept second-class performance in your team. If I am ever in your team and under-performing, please fire me!

Author's Bio: 

Warwick Merry is the Get More Guy : a motivational speaker and trade show specialist. He ignites an inexhaustible passion to Get More out of life. Sign up for his Get More Goer: weekly thought of inspiration.
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