How to deal with a poor performing team member?

team memberA project is divided into a number of groups. Each group is assigned a task, which has to be completed within certain time frame. The team leader is the head of each group.

It is team leader responsibility to see that the task is completed in an effective manner and within the stipulated time.

Team leader assigns the task to all the members of the team. These tasks are usually interdependent on each other.

Team leader monitors the progress of the team on a daily basis. He coordinates, guides and helps the team to achieve the target.

The team consists of members. Some members are good performers and some are not. The team leader should note that if any member seems distracted or bored. Is performance of star member up to the mark?

The team leader should not ignore these early warning signs because this uninteresting or boring performance will influence and will spread to other members. This spiritless performance of one member will have an effect on star performers of the team too.

How should team leader deal with such a situation? First thing is to give it a top priority. If a team leader is busy still he should find time to solve the issue otherwise the performance of the whole team will suffer. He should approach the matter is a considered manner. He should not straightforward lambaste the team member because it will aggravate the problems.

The team leader should try to find the basic reason of non-performance by the member. Why a star performer is not giving promising results. Here is how the team leader should go about it.

  1. Find the main reason

Be open and straightforward, and tell your team member that you have noticed a sharp drop in the performance. The member may react inadequately or unfavorably to the announcement.

But team leader should be calm and gentle. He should try to find the real reason for underperformance and not the superficial one.

  1. Recognize the problem

If a member or employee who has served few years in the organization, it can be the case of mid-career crisis. If the member shows no sign of interest in his work then his performance may drop suddenly. Not ready to take new or challenging work. Feels exhausted or has mental fatigue.

  1. Give a patient hearing

The team leader should give a patient hearing to what member has to say. Let him completely finish his side of the story before you say/ask something. Better give him more ear than your tongue. Put up with a simple question so as to reach the root of the problems.

  1. Monotonous nature of work

Sometimes it so happens that the member is bored of monotonous work. He may need more challenging work than what he is presently doing or he needs to upgrade his skill set so as to fulfill his task at hand. His promotion has been overlooked for quite some time.

  1. Extend a helping hand

A team leader should try to judge if he has been assigned work which is overloaded or he needs time to relax. The member is fed up with monotonous work and needs more challenging work.

Talk with the member and let him know that he is a valuable resource for the team and for the project on the whole. Talk regarding his likes and dislike of his present role. Evaluate his work profile. And if possible make necessary changes. See to it that you do not talk much about his personal life.

  1. Measure progress

As a team leader, you can do a lot of things but ultimately it is the results which should show. If there are no results all the efforts will go in vain. So be sure to track the progress of each member of your team on a continuous basis. Be sure to share feedback with all the members.

If the whole team is active, it will enjoy the task assigned to them. The task can be completed cheerfully and on time.