Recently my 26-year-old son came to me for some career advice. Evidently, the leadership team at his company recently read the book “How to Hire How to Hire A-Players: Finding the Top People for Your Team- Even If You Don’t Have a Recruiting Department.” His boss presented him with a document outlining what he needed to do to be an “A”-level team player. The objectives, broken out by job responsibilities, were clear about their expectations.
Even though my son was resisting one particular area (only because it took away from his time selling), he was smart enough and driven enough to be an A-player to seek my counsel. But not all employees are like my son. Some are B-level or C-level players but still have the desire to be A-level players. Others are underperformers and have little to no desire to improve. As small business owners, I think we all know to be a top-tier organization, we need top-level performers supporting us.
What do you do when you have an employee that is not earning the “A” grade?
- Start with Yourself. Are you an A-level leader? Performance starts at the top. You need to be a great leader that others are inspired to follow. You need the skills and expertise to know how to develop and lead a team. If you are a B-level or C-level leader, it will reflect in the quality of your employees’ performance. Seek leadership development for yourself so you can foster the team you desire.
- Set Clear Expectations and Follow Through when they fall below. If an employee doesn’t know what’s expected of them, it’s hard to know what to do, or how she is doing. Be very clear with your staff on your mission, values and individual job responsibilities. Have regular meetings with your employees to ensure they are following through on your expectations. Steer them back on course if they fall off.
- Figure out what drives each staff member. Everyone is motivated by different factors. Some value appreciation and recognition, while others want work/life balance. Employees may want monetary compensation, but others might want
varietyin their job. An employee might be demotivated by negativity, boredom, lack of training or direction, or a need to learn something new and grow. If motivation is lacking, an employee will not strive to be an A-level player.
- Play to each staff member’s strengths. Don’t try to fit a square peg into a round hole. It’s not going to work. If you stick an introverted person, that prefers to work behind the scenes, into a front office customer service position, you are asking for failure. As best as you can, know your employee’s strengths and fit them with responsibilities that complement those strengths. You will be happier, they will be more engaged, and the team will be stronger.
- Cut out the Bad Blood. Everyone deserves an opportunity to be coached, but some people are simply not coachable. Either they are not ready to grow, are not capable of meeting expectations, or they are stuck in what I call, “mind muck.” If you’ve given your underperformers the chance to get on board, and they still are not rising to the occasion, cut your losses. Find replacements that are eager to be A-level team players.
Let’s circle back to my son Kai. He was complaining about one area of his company’s expectations. It wasn’t because he is not an A-level team player. The company was simply failing to play to his strengths – selling, and recognize his motivation – making money. Anything my son doesn’t see as adding value to his goals of selling and making money is going to be a hard sell for the company. He will suck it up and do it because he’s been raised to succeed, but in this area, he will probably be a B-level or C-level performer.
5 Steps You Can Take When Your Staff Members are NOT “A”-Level Team Players
August 25, 2017