Performance niggles often fall into one category: Attitude, Skill, Knowledge, or Support. This is also known as The Performance Matrix.
It’s up to us as leaders to develop an individual’s knowledge through training, coaching and systems, and to support an employee as they undertake their work, especially at the beginning of their employment. But knowledge and support are no substitute for an individual’s natural skill or attitude, which we can’t influence.
If you’re concerned about the performance of a team member, it’s critical to establish the underlying cause, to understand how you could inadvertently be setting them up to fail, or where they need to take ownership in order to improve.
Before opening the “the door of opportunity”, read on to determine where the issues lie.
Knowledge (up to you).
This is the first thing that you, as a leader, can control. It’s also your duty to provide the required knowledge through training, coaching, systems and policies to your team. Remember, your employee doesn’t know what they don’t know, so don’t rely on them to ask you questions.
Review your induction and training processes to identify any knowledge gaps which you can fill with more dedicated training, mentoring and procedure development.
Support (up to you).
It may be that the knowledge is available to team members, but they need support to access it or implement it into their role.
Ask yourself, ‘Have our procedures been stress tested properly? Are our employee expectations clear for each team member? Do they have a detailed job description with KPIs and goals to achieve? Are we truly available to them when they have questions or queries?’
Review the support you currently provide and identify if you could do more to help them improve their performance.
Attitude (up to them).
Only they can control their attitude. Do they come to work with passion and positivity, living into your Core Values and enjoying their work? You can’t teach good attitude; however, you can look at factors which may affect it.
If there’s recently been a change in their attitude, chat to them about why, ask them if they’re ok, and then remind them of your Core Values and expected team culture.
Skill (up to them).
The team member must be capable of applying the knowledge, training and coaching you provide them to perform their job well. Encourage a growth mindset amongst your team; that learning is continuous and skills can constantly be refined.
That said, ultimately, the team member may not be up to the job. It may be beyond their natural skill level or not the kind of work that is best suited to their skills, motivators, stressors, and overall working style.
If this is the case, it’s important to follow the correct Performance Management Process in order to open the door of opportunity. And hey, if their attitude is great then this may be a different position within your business.
“If everyone is moving forward together, then success takes care of itself.” - Henry Ford