As a leader, you want to enable your team to fire on all cylinders, work together smoothly, and achieve great results. Yet sometimes, despite your best efforts, you might find that some team members just aren’t meeting expectations. As a leader, it’s frustrating, and it can be hard to know how to address the issue. So, what are some of the common reasons for poor performance in teams, and what can we do as leaders to switch tracks and create a high-performing team?
Support and Accessible Information
Firstly, a lack of support and easily accessed knowledge/information is a big issue. If your team members don’t have the information that they need to do their job effectively, they’re going to struggle. Maybe they weren’t properly trained, or they didn’t receive a thorough induction, or your onboarding process wasn’t as focused as it needed to be. Or maybe they’re just not getting the support they need as they go along. It’s important to make sure that everyone on your team has the knowledge they need to do their job well.
According to a recent study, employees who receive the necessary training are 30% more likely to feel confident and motivated in their work. Additionally, they are 23% more likely to stay with their employer for longer periods of time.1 Supplying adequate training and information to your team members can not only improve their job performance but also increase their job satisfaction and retention rate.
Mentorship and Investing in Development
The second reason for poor performance is a lack of skills and experience. Even if team members have the knowledge they need, they might not have the practical skills to apply that knowledge effectively or they simply may have not had the time to grow and embed their skills. This could be from a lack of coaching, feedback, or mentorship to develop their skills further or just time in the role being able to practice them. (Or maybe they’re just not being given the opportunity to put their skills into practice) As a leader, it’s important to identify where your team members may be lacking skill or experience and mentor them to enhance their performance.
According to a study by the Society for Human Resource Management (SHRM), organisations that invest in employee training and development experience a 24% increase in productivity, on average.23 This increase is linked to the development of new skills and knowledge among employees. By helping your team members develop the skills they need, you can not only improve their job performance but also boost overall productivity and contribute to the success of your organisation.
Set Up for Success
The third reason is a lack of tools. This can be physical tools, like hardware or software, or it can be access to the resources and information needed to do the job. If team members don’t have the right tools, they’re going to struggle to perform well, no matter how skilled or knowledgeable they are. Make sure your team members have everything they need to do their job to the best of their ability.
According to a study by the Aberdeen Group, organisations that provide their employees with the necessary tools and resources to do their job are 3.5 times more likely to improve their customer satisfaction rates and 2.5 times more likely to improve their revenue growth.4 Additionally, employees who have access to the right tools and resources are more engaged and productive, which can ultimately lead to increased job satisfaction and retention rates. By providing your team members with the necessary tools, you can not only improve their job performance but also contribute to the success of your organisation.
Cultural Alignment and Fit
Lastly, sometimes team members just don’t have the desire to perform. This can happen for a variety of reasons, such as a lack of connection to the team’s goals, personal issues, or simply boredom with the role. This does not happen overnight but appears as a prolonged decline in an individual’s responsiveness to their work and their team. It’s important to address this issue with empathy and to work with the team member to identify what might be causing their lack of motivation. There may be external factors that contribute to their performance, and it is your role as a leader to guide and provide the support they need at work.
According to a study by Gallup, organisations that prioritise employee engagement and well-being experience a 21% increase in profitability, on average.5 Employee engagement is a key factor in driving performance and productivity and can be achieved through various means such as creating a positive work environment, supplying opportunities for growth and development, and ensuring that employees feel valued and supported. By working with team members who are experiencing a lack of motivation, you can help to re-engage them and contribute to the overall success of your organisation.
By understanding the common reasons for poor performance in teams, you can better identify when an issue is arising and address it before it becomes a bigger problem. Remember, as a leader, it’s your job to support and empower your team members so that they can all perform to the best of their ability.
- “2018 Workplace Learning Report.” LinkedIn, 2018, https://learning.linkedin.com/content/dam/me/learning/en-us/resources/workplace-learning-report-2018.pdf.
- Kraiger, K., Ford, J.K., & Salas, E. (1993). Application of cognitive, skill-based, and affective theories of learning outcomes to new methods of training evaluation. Journal of Applied Psychology, 78(2), 311-328.
- SHRM. (2019). The value of employee development: Retaining talent and driving engagement. Society for Human Resource Management. https://www.shrm.org/hr-today/trends-and-forecasting/special-reports-and-expert-views/Documents/SHRM%20Value%20of%20Employee%20Development%20Report.pdf.
- Aberdeen Group. (2015). Employee Engagement: Paving the Way to Happy Customers. https://www.aberdeen.com/research/11618/rr-employee-engagement/content.aspx
- Gallup. (2020). State of the Global Workplace. https://www.gallup.com/workplace/284180/state-global-workplace-2020.aspx