Your weekly source of sales, marketing, customer service, and management insight - compliments of ETE REMAN

Coaching Your Weakest Team Member

October 14, 2020 By Countess Of Cores Leave a comment
Weakest link in the chain

We’ve all heard these sayings: the bad apple, the weakest link in the chain, the black sheep in the family. Do these simple phrases define a person and give no room for improvement?  When dealing with a member of your team who is not measuring up to your or your team’s standards, what can you do to help this individual reach their potential?  As a lead of a few different teams, I have experienced many different team members with varying levels of capability, most of whom have been able to master their skills either completely on their own, or perhaps with a little help here and there just to get them over their hurdles.  But for the individuals who just seem to struggle with their workload, and thus impacts the rest of the group, here are some pointers on how to help them reach their potential and become an impactful member of the team:

  • Always approach with a positive demeanor. When a team member feels confronted as opposed to approached, they are less willing to listen and embrace the advice or directive you are providing them. 
  • Listen to their feedback. Many times, it is just a lack of basic understanding of why we do things a certain way, and by listening to the team member explain their perspective, it can help you to clarify what needs to be done and how. 
  • Walk them through the task. Even if a team member has been “trained”, everyone learns things differently and at their own pace.  Sometimes it takes just a few more times of going over a process, even hands-on, for them to make the connections and understand the job. 
  • Be consistent, until they are. Make sure your team member knows that you are there to help them and be sure to keep an eye on their work till they demonstrate competency in the task(s).  This will help catch any other issues that may arise while they are improving their skills and to ensure proper procedure habits.  This does not mean you have to “micromanage” as ideally, you should be able to trust all your team members to competently carry out their daily work.  But while you are working with a member who is weak in a certain area, or perhaps multiple areas, it is a good practice to monitor the work, so that your team member gets the support they need.
  • Offer constructive criticism. This goes hand in hand with the first point, in that it is important to approach your fellow team member with a positive attitude and demonstrate to them the correct way to do something, and most importantly, why.  Providing the “why” will help to gain understanding and buy-in, as opposed to just barking orders at someone and telling them they did it wrong.

Recently, I’ve worked with a team member who needed some extra attention to help get them where they need to be. I got this team member on an employee improvement plan. This may sound like a negative concept, but it truly is not.  The idea is to help provide specific, achievable goals to the individual, over a course of time.  As the program progresses, it is important to meet regularly to go over their progression and any concerns they may have.  In this instance, we worked on building time efficiencies in the team member’s daily routine, to help lower any unnecessary steps and improve response time to our customers. 

As another saying goes, there is “always room for improvement”, never give up on a team member who is falling behind.  We all have room to grow and by giving the time and energy into a team member who just may need it a little more, will go a long way into your investment in a capable and competent member of your team. 

Related Articles

Speak Your Mind