(Part 1 of 3)
“It’s a much bigger challenge that I expected,” he replied. “The first few weeks were fine. Everyone seemed cooperative. But more recently it just seems to be one thing after another.”
Willard and I continued talking and surfaced practices that were actually making his job harder.
For example, Willard spent a lot of time coaching, retraining and helping a staff member whose performance, at best, was marginal. The staff member, a long-time employee, had never been great but Willard liked the person and was dead-set on making him better.
Even though Willard spent weeks coaching and mentoring, performance did not increase; but the employee’s frustration and resentment did. The stress needle for the entire team popped hard to the right.
I suppose it is conventional wisdom that managers can improve departmental performance by strengthening the weakest link in the chain. And the temptation to help struggling performers is even greater when they are friendly.
However, managers who focus their efforts on their lowest producers—and all departments have one or more employees who consistently produce less than others—simply make their job harder. You can make your job easier by accepting this truth.