Wednesday, July 22, 2009

5 Steps to Improving Performance

Lack of performance in a member of your staff can be attributed to one of two things. Either they have a competence problem, a commitment problem or both.

Competence is relatively easy to deal with. Once you have identified the issue, you can set about producing a training programme to help develop their skills, spend some time supervising them until they become competent, allow them to observe others, there are any number of ways that you can develop your staff with direction and support. Competence is learned over time as people develop their skills through experience.

Commitment, however, is a little bit more difficult to deal with as this is down to a combination of a person's confidence and motivation. When a job is new to us and we are in learning mode, we have little or no competence but oodles of commitment. We are enthusiastic and eager to learn and determined to perform at our best.

As we start to learn the job, our competence increases but out commitment diminishes as we realise that maybe the job is more difficult than we thought, or maybe not as challenging or as interesting as we thought, or maybe we are just not being recognised for our efforts. Human nature is such that we start to think "well why bother?"

Keep your people's commitment by:-

1. Developing a learning and action plan that is right for them. Find out what their preferred learning styles are.

2. Be aware of how quickly they learn and adapt. Don't allow them to become overwhelmed but just as importantly, keep their interest if they are a fast learner and they thrive by having responsibility.

3. Focus on the positive by catching them doing something right and acknowledge them for it.

4. If they do do something wrong while they are still inexperienced or they have a new task, then apologise for not making it clear to them. Yes, I do mean apologise! It is not their responsibility to understand you; it is your responsibility to be understood.

5. Keep them in the loop. People like to know what is going on and are more likely to be
committed if they understand the bigger picture.

By Yvonne Bleakley

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