How can I deal with an employee who lacks initiative, whose attitude reduces the productivity and effectiveness of the rest of the team? I have talked to him about this attitude and even coached him through some opportunities, but he has failed to adapt. What can I do? Shamim
This is a sensitive issue that you need to address. Unlike a problem where someone lacks skills where you can train and develop skills, changing a mindset perspective, can be very difficult. However, before you even introduce new strategies, I think it is essential to determine that your team player is in the right job. He may have the academic qualifications and requirements, but he may not be interested in the role. People often are in positions because they need a job, but they may not be interested or passionate about the job. This lack of passion and interest causes them to disengage and not entirely give their all in the role.
You will need to have a discussion with the team member and have a frank discussion. If he responds that he still wants to work, you need to understand what else is going on. It is important to remember when we talk about being at work and working. We are not only looking at what you do and what you deliver. Many organisations also look at how staff deliver their work or output. The “how we deliver” looks at aspects of attitude and behaviour, in essence, behaviour competence. Behaviour competence is now equally important as technical competence. It is a known fact that behaviour competence drives and influences technical competence and dramatically impacts the workplace.
Pointing out the issue of behaviour competence allows you to address your problem from an alternative perspective. You may want to consider introducing a 360-degree feedback process that looks at both technical and behaviour competence. Here, team members, peers and colleagues who work with your employee team can give feedback on his technical and behaviour competence. The feedback is then shared with him to highlight the impact of his behaviour on others.
Having an alternative perspective may cause the change that you need. If this still does not yield any results, your remaining alternative is to manage his behaviour through your performance management system.
Managing this issue through the performance management process should be your last resort because it is can be challenging to handle and will require you to put in a significant amount of time as you manage his performance and the impact that it has on others.
Caroline Mboijana, Managing Director,The Leadership Team (U) [email protected]