If a team is only as strong as its weakest member, how strong is your team’s performance? In the fast-paced digital era, dominated by uncertainty and a need for speed, a company with teams who can’t work quickly, creatively and efficiently together risks becoming obsolete. It’s a simple fact: If you can’t deliver enough value, customers will go elsewhere. Enough competitors and startups exist in every industry that even those on top don’t stay there for long without consistently focusing on keeping top performance (just ask Nokia, Blockbuster or Kodak).
Allowing low performance in the culture ultimately demotivates high performers in the process. Steve Jobs once talked about how hiring “A” players often leads to more “A” players because that’s who they enjoy working with. “It propagates,” he says. Even just one “B” player, meaning a lower-performing team member, can change the output for the entire team. As a leader, it’s your top priority to unlock the potential of each individual in your team as well as manage the performance of the team as a whole.
As an executive and team coach for global Fortune 500 companies, I’ve seen that not every low-performance situation is the same and that different approaches need to be used depending on the root cause of the low performance. Here are the top five ways leaders can effectively deal with their low-performing team members: