Tips For Helping A Struggling Employee

It happens on sales teams of all sizes: Someone gets on the struggle bus and can't seem to get back on track. It could be a new hire who isn't catching on or an experienced employee who is suddenly struggling with output or productivity. Whatever the case may be, if one of your sales reps is performing poorly, it's your job as a leader to uncover the problem and help the employee get back to full productivity.

Executive coach and entrepreneur Lolly Daskal says that some of your most important work as a leader will be with those who are struggling. So how can you help an employee who's not performing at their best? Keep reading this issue of Promotional Consultant Today for Daskal's top tips for helping struggling employees get back on track.

Identify the issue. Before you can develop a plan for improvement, you need to back up and discover the root cause of the problem, notes Daskal. When you do, you can understand the context of what's happening and work together to develop solutions that will work over the long haul.

Communicate clearly. Telling someone they aren't meeting expectations is bound to be an uncomfortable conversation. Daskal says you can couch it in a positive light by remembering that as their leader, you're responsible for their success, and you're offering candid feedback to help them improve and become more self-aware.

Focus on facts. Getting negative feedback is never easy for anyone. To help prevent negative reactions, focus on the facts by giving clear examples of times when the employee failed to meet job requirements. Explain how these behaviors affect not just the rest of the team but also the employee's own future—including promotions, recognition, raises or bonuses and job security.

Work on a solution together. Don't tell your struggling employee, "This is how it's going to be." Instead, Daskal recommends working with them to devise a solution together. Giving your employee a chance to take ownership of the situation is empowering and provides extra motivation for improvement.

Keep expectations clear. Make sure the employee understands what's expected in the future. This step may take the form of a structured performance improvement plan that sets out what must change for the employee to remain part of the organization.

Praise efforts. Behavior responds to encouragement and rewards. That's why Daskal says that it's important to give praise and recognition for the efforts the employee puts in as they work to move in the right direction. If the employee is improving, let them know their hard work is not going unnoticed.

Hire a coach. Many leaders have coaches themselves, and they know how useful a coaching relationship can be—especially one that brings in a point of view from outside the organization. A good coach can help the employee process situations from the past week to work toward better results in the future, notes Daskal.

Follow up. Once you've formulated a plan, create a schedule for regular follow-ups to assess the employee's progress and address any challenges that may arise.

If someone on your team is struggling to keep up, don't let them continue to flounder. Take action to address the issue and help guide them back to the path to productivity.

Compiled by Audrey Sellers

Source: Lolly Daskal is the founder of Lead from Within, a successful leadership firm that offers custom-made programs in leadership and organizational development. As a leadership coach, Daskal is an advisor to Fortune 500 CEOs and boards. She is one of the top executive coaches in the world.

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