“We need to talk about Mark”

“Alright Karen, what is going on with Mark?”

“I was pulling the medication forms for an audit and found another error!”

“Another error, have you found errors in Mark’s forms before?”

“Well, yes…this is the fifth error I have found on his form in the past two months. If theses errors get through my systems and are found by the state we can lose funding and possibly have our license suspended.”

“Does Mark have the proper training needed to fill out this form correctly?”

“Yes, has has attended all of our trainings and I have seen times when he has filled out the form the right way.”

“Karen, have you spoken to Mark about this in the past?”

“Well no. I just figured it would fix itself.”

“Fix itself?”

“Come on Mike, you know that Mark knows his stuff and is a great employee…I just thought it would go away.”

“How did you contribute to this problem?”

“It’s not my fault!”

“You are the manager and your job is to control the system…you found five errors in two months and have not spoken to Mark yet. You told me Mark has the training and is competent…How did you contribute to the problem?”

“I should have spoken to him immediately when I found the first error.”

As managers once a problem is detected “letting it go” or “hoping it will fix itself” rarely ever works. Your job is to control the process and ensure that the work being done meets the goals that are established in a QQT/R format.

If you wait too long the problems are viewed as being Okay or just part of the work. In order to change this a Coaching Underperformance talk needs to happen. This discussion must include your contribution to the error. In the dialog above Karen knew of the audit forms being filled out incorrectly months ago, and by not talking with Mark about this immediately she allowed the problem to escalate.

Underperformance is seen by the manager early on and we all hate to have the uncomfortable talk about fixing and changing the errors, This is what you are paid to do.

Once an error and employee underperformance is detected talk with the person immediately. Here are some tips for the underperformance talk;

  • Stick to the facts and evidence at hand.
  • Use concrete “real” examples and in a calm voice show the errors.
  • Explain how the error can affect your work and the organization as a whole.
  • Describe what fault you as a manager have in creating this problem i.e. you have known about it for months, inadequate training, unclear goals established, absence from the floor.
  • Ask the person for their input/story – maybe something is going on that you have no idea about.
  • Describe in detail what should be happening and why once this happens both of your work can improve.
  • Co-Create an action plan.
  • Set Follow-up dates and accountabilities.

Coaching Underperformance; Why is it that performance management is so difficult to address, let alone actually resolve? Contact Mike today to make your team and leadership better.