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What should you do if team members are not doing their best?

10 min read

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What should you do if team members are not doing their best?
What should you do if team members are not doing their best?

When you hold a leadership position, you need to build a team with diverse personalities and skills. Even if you fly alone, you may have to work with freelancer or contractors from time to time.

Regardless of your exact situation, a weak link can definitely lead to bottlenecks and affect productivity. Even worse? This can hurt morale as 47% of employees have stated that lazy employees are their main hobby.

Fortunately, there are ways to address this situation before it gets worse.

1. Address the solution before the problem occurs

As Sun Tzu wrote The art of war“The greatest victory is the one that doesn’t require a fight.” In other words, make sure this isn’t a problem for you when assigning projects. This should include at least the following:

  • Know your workload. Before assigning anything, double-check with everyone to see if they’re available or what their schedules are.
  • Set clear and specific expectations. Clearly communicate what you want to avoid confusion. Also, check in advance that you are aware of the action items.
  • Remove possible obstacles. Ask them if something is preventing them from completing their work. For example, if you are using outdated software, make sure it is up to date.
  • Division of large tasks into smaller ones. “When you break it down into smaller pieces, people struggling with procrastination can feel a greater sense of urgency and move on faster,” Elizabeth Grace Saunders told HBR. Research also shows that low income helps motivate employees.
  • Give reasonable deadlines with priorities. It’s 4 p.m. and you ask a team member if they can have a last minute task for you first thing in the morning. It is unreasonable. Set realistic deadlines and make sure you know which elements to focus on first.

2. Don’t judge quickly

What if you were proactive and followed the steps above but to no avail? Get to the bottom of the problem instead of losing or breaking your cool.

“Instead of assuming that you are lazy and homeless, assume that something is happening in your life that interferes with your work,” said leadership trainer and former US Navy SEAL Jocko Willink CNBC do it. The only way to find out is to reach out to them professionally and just ask them. It’s best to do this one on one during a scheduled coffee or lunch break.

Willink also recommends asking questions like, “Can I take some of this weight off your shoulders?” You may find that they are not lazy or incompetent. Rather, they deal with time management problems or are overwhelmed.

Another reason for that? “They don’t know where you’ll end up in two months, in six months,” he says. “Maybe you are the one who needs someone to cover you.”

At the same time, don’t let that stop you from neglecting your priorities. If you take on some of their workload, don’t complain. Your mindset should be, “I will keep taking your jobs until I get your job and I will keep going.”

3. Don’t let your productivity affect you

I know this is challenging, but in the end you should focus on your own work and not that of others.

While it’s definitely a distraction and frustration, focusing on someone else’s performance will only hurt your own productivity. In fact, it’s just a waste of your precious time and energy. Roy T. Bennett wrote, “You cannot control the behavior of others, but you can always choose how to react.”

How can you do this when your blood is boiling? Try calming techniques like breathing exercises or meditation. Let your partner carry you around and think about solutions or work from another location so as not to interact with them directly.

4. Offer help

Could you keep your nose on the whetstone? If so, you may be able to help others. Remember, this doesn’t mean doing their job for them.

One way to provide support is to provide guidance or feedback. It could be so easy to share productivity hacks that work for you or just have an ear to listen.

Another suggestion would be to help them with less important tasks. When preparing a meeting, you can offer to review or send the agendas. Better still, you could show them how to prioritize their time.

Be careful not to do this on a regular basis as you don’t want to spoil them. This can also prevent you from worrying about what you have to do. But when you have the time, offer them help so they can catch up.

5. Apply Brooks Law

Coined by Fred Brook in his 1975 book, The mythical man monthThis is an observation about software project management. The law states that “when a person is added to a project team and the project is already behind schedule, the project time is longer rather than shorter”.

For example, if 20 people are working together on a project and one person is holding them all back, consider calling in reinforcements to help with the takeover. The problem is that not only do the new team members need to be updated, but there is now also a communication overload in the team.

How big should your team be? There is no conclusive answer. However, Evan Wittenberg, director of the Wharton Graduate Leadership Program, said it is “in the range five to twelve, although some say five to nine are the best and number six has come up multiple times”.

“On average, teams of fewer than 10 have the highest and lowest participation,” notes lead researcher and Gallup author Jim Harter.

6. Switch responsibilities

While this isn’t always an option, it does allow your team members to take on new roles. This enables them to pursue interests or passions within your organization. When they fail, it is an opportunity to learn where they went wrong.

But the most important thing is that they can finally build on their strengths or do something that they enjoy. It’s also a different way to develop new skills. They can even become more empathetic when they spend time in someone else’s shoes.

7. Recognize what motivates them

According to the New York Times bestselling author Gretchen Rubin, different people react to the rules. They generally fall into one of four personality types:

  • The defender is someone who “accepts the rules either from outside or inside”. They meet deadlines, follow doctor’s instructions and adhere to a New Year’s resolution. As such, they respond well to schedules and to-do lists.
  • As his name suggests, the interlocutor questions “the rules and only accepts them if they make sense. You are free to choose whether or not to follow the rules at your own discretion. “Most likely, they will wake up in the morning and think about what to do.
  • The rebel is a person who “disregards the rules outside or inside. You defy control. “When they have been given an order,” they will want to do just the opposite. “
  • The debtor is a person who “accepts external rules but does not accept self-imposed rules”. With that in mind, they focus more on what is expected of them.

How can you tell what kind of person you are? The only way is to spend more time alone with them. Once you get to know them better, you can use this to your advantage.

For example, when you are dealing with a “rebel” it is not effective to bark or control orders. Instead, you might want to go back a bit to give them autonomy. Sometimes you need to motivate them with money.

We recently created a retirement program to help our employees save a little more. You help them motivate them. Find what works.

8. Learn and grow with your team

Since this does not embarrass anyone, it is an opportunity for the entire team to learn and grow. Some ideas would be for everyone to take part in training exercises, seminars, or webinars. As a bonus, this could help everyone on your team develop or strengthen their skills so they can work faster and more efficiently.

Even better? They give everyone the chance to change their routines so they don’t get involved in them. You could even create a more engaged and unified team.

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