The Weakest Link on Your Team

Susie has a history of poor performance.  And she was just transferred to your team.  The first thought that comes to mind is “Dammit!  I don’t have time to babysit!” followed by “Why do I deserve the weakest link?”.

We’ve all been there.  But the problem doesn’t lie with her being added to your team.  The problem lies at the feet of EVERY supervisor and manager who has done nothing to help Susie improve.  She’s never received the critical feedback needed to address the areas she’s lacking in.

Instead of bemoaning the decision to add her to your team – be the one to step up and LEAD Susie to success.

Here’s four ways you can lead Susie to a successful position on your team.

Keep an open mind.

As Susie’s new supervisor, you have an amazing opportunity to help her develop. It’s up to you to determine what will help her join the team. Her previous experience does hold some clues but avoid focusing on her failures.  Speak with Susie.  Ask her what she’s liked about her job within the company and what she’s found difficult.

Make Susie feel welcome.

Introduce her to the team and let her know where she fits in. Get started on the right foot.  Make sure her workstation is up and ready for her and have a beginning plan of action in place.  Give her ample opportunity to meet with the other team members about any current projects, how they view the department, and introduce herself.

Establish attainable goals.

Don’t just throw Susie into the mix to “sink or swim”.  Speak with her on how to best make the most of her abilities.  Listen for expressions of interest, ambition, and do your best to fuel them.  Agree on levels of productivity and set new skill development targets as well.  If you expect Susie to fail, she will.  A show of faith may just be the “kick in the pants” she needs to improve her skills and be successful.

Provide training and feedback.

Once you’ve seen Susie in action, you’ll recognize aspects of her performance that need improvement, as well as where she’s improved.  Treat both of those as you would a veteran member of your team – by providing the coaching and/or training that is needed.  Ask Susie how she feels about any performance gaps and what she thinks is necessary to improve.  Don’t be afraid or stingy with positive feedback either.  Understand that some employee needs may require more than just your intervention.  There may be a need for HR and/or EAP to be included as well.

None of these steps should be considered hand-holding or babysitting.  It should be a normal piece of the puzzle of managing a team. Remember — their success is YOUR success.

Does your team have someone like this?  Maybe your manager needs some assistance?  We should have a chat!  Connect with me on LinkedIn to get started.

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