How much time do you spend on the ‘low performers’ in your organization? If you are like the majority of leaders, the answer is too much! (But wait, I know…you are special. You are not anything like those “other” leaders. YOU would never spend too much time with the low performers.) Well this advice is for the rest of the world, the majority of those other leaders who do spend their bulk of their time dealing with a few employees.
Low performers drain a leader’s time and energy. Both of which could be used to further inspire higher performers.
It’s also no surprise that low performers bring down those around them. The high performers become frustrated and either leave or conform to the lower standard. They wonder why substandard performance is acceptable.
The high performers lose faith in their leaders.
In Good to Great, Jim Collins refers to organizational cultures that are “rigorous, not ruthless”. Ruthless is firing people without giving them a chance to develop.
Rigorous is having high standards that are consistently followed. It prevents high performers from getting dragged down by the low performers. It also allows the low performers to move on to a role or organization that suits them better.
When Denise was an administrator and confronted with a difficult employee issue, she would often reflect on Collins’ questions:
- “If it were a hiring decision would you hire the person again?”
- “If the person came to tell you that he or she is leaving to pursue an exciting new opportunity, would you feel disappointed or secretly relieved?”
You want to catch the good that is happening as much as possible and coach employees for the occasional wrong. But the reality is some employee problems cannot be solved with any amount of praise or coaching. That’s when you want to tackle the issue for the good of the people you serve, your team and the individual employee.
Are you with the 80% or the 20%?
We’ve all heard the 80/20 rules. It applies to leadership too. Most people spend 80% of their time coaching the 20% of low performers. Imagine for a moment all the good that could come if instead you focused 80% of your time on growing the high performers!
Shift the precious resource of your time to growing yourself (that’s right invest in yourself!) and others who are committed to your organizations’ shared values. People who have proven that they want to do better for themselves and the organization.
Challenge yourself to reflect: How do you invest in growing the high performers in your organization? Do you spend time stretching their abilities? Have you challenged them to push beyond their comfort zone?
Executive coaching is a no-brainer way to grow and retain key employees! It works best when people want to perform at their best, not when they are being forced. Coaching people who have no interest in improving tends to be a waste of time and resources. Time and resources that could be focused on advancing your best employees!
With that mind, when was the last time you invested in enhancing your performance or the performance of a superstar on your team? Not just attending a conference or reading a book, but a one-on-one opportunity to discuss all those things that you just can’t tell anyone? Like the difficult conversation you know you need to have, but can’t bring yourself to do it. Or your loss of what to do with those few people that just aren’t stepping up to the plate. We can help you craft a step-by-step plan to address these irritating time wasters that are sucking up your most valuable resource – the minutes in your day! Book a free 30-minute coaching session to see if it’s a fit for you and us. Click here to directly book your session in our calendar.
This article was written by staff member Allison Duda