In the western business world most managers have a ‘fix it’ mentality. We think that if someone is not performing we can turn that around by just spending more time and effort with them. However, the sad reality is that 80% of our efforts usually don’t pay off. This is seldom a reflection of your management ability. Some consultants may have all the potential in the world, but they just don’t have the commitment.
What can you do with these consultants? If you have tried micromanagement and know this isn’t the answer, should you let them just carry on and produce mediocre results or do you let them go? It may seem harsh, but the sooner they move on and find work that does motivate them, the better for everyone. It’s far better to have someone taking up valuable desk space who is motivated and really wants to achieve than someone who doesn’t really want or enjoy the job – who’s just going through the motions.
Also their lack of commitment can be toxic. Their presence and lack lustre approach to work can often poison those around them. Other consultants that were doing okay before may find themselves more de-motivated without even knowing why.
Often managers and firms feel sorry for these low performers. The firms keep giving these consultants chances to improve. Managers spend hours micromanaging them in the hope that they will learn enough to get things right. These consultants will have agreed goals and commitments to an action plan. But then they return to their desk and all the promises are forgotten. They go right back to what they were doing before. Or more accurately what they weren’t doing before.
It is because of this lack of commitment that things don’t turn around. All this does is waste precious time, effort and resources. These are resources that could far better be spent on people that maybe have less skill, but a lot more commitment. Skills can be learnt, but commitment is an inbuilt attitude – a personal choice. If the low performing consultant chooses to remain in their comfort zone and not make any effort to improve, micromanaging them won’t help.
What should be done instead?
Decide which middle or low tier performers that you should be investing time in. These are people that – even if they don’t have the skills, knowledge or experience – are willing to put in the extra effort. You will know who they are by the way they behave. They will be working late, in the office early, motivated to take on your suggestions, high activity – a can-do attitude. Your task as a manager is to help coach, support and train them so that they have everything they need to be top tier performers.
But even in this, be careful not to micromanage them – have set times each day or week where you touch base with them – asking what’s their focus for today – what specifically do they want to achieve? How are they doing against their weekly targets and priorities?
Your task as a manager is simply to fuel that motivation even more and guide them through the right processes. Coach and train them, join them in interviews and client meetings. But let them find their own style and rhythm. Be there as a support and allow them enough freedom to operate so that they feel they are taking responsibility for their success. When people are motivated and taking action, small tweaks can provide great results. Working together you can create a top tier performer.
I hope you found this article useful. If you would like some more tips on how to deal with the inner game or help your team to deal with their inner game – join my FREE Webinar ‘The 6 Step System to Convert Your Under Performers to High Billers in 14 days or Less’
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‘Til next time,