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:
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.