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A Manager's Guide to Developing Poor Performers
By Lin Kroeger
Business gurus often focus on mentoring, leading and coaching. In to
leaner business environment these initiatives have become even more critical. Managers are constantly being told what to do in order to achieve success. Instead, the following suggestions are guaranteed to sabotage good performers and bring out the worst among the truly mediocre.
Don’t teach staff members how to navigate internal politics.
When staff professionals believe that “politics” are getting in the way of their development, don’t tell them otherwise. By helping them remain igno
rant of the
realities of the organization, you ensure that they’ll never become full contributors.
After all, you had to learn how to manage the political landscape, and no one helped you!
Give mixed messages whenever possible.
Hire the best professional
s you can find, and then ignore them. Don’t reinforce their
strengths, coach them when they demonstrate weakness or prepare them for the
difficulties they’ll face when working with customers. By watching you in action, they
will respect your ability to handle the business and lose confidence in their own skills. Tell them how good their skills are, but then rewrite all their memos and reports.
Confuse them about the difference between correct content and writing quality; don’t
explain that what appear to be changes in their style are actually changes to the content. When your staff finally gets the message that their writing is inadequate, they can spend productive time resenting you and constructively insisting that
“Writing is writing, content is content.
Changing my style is unfair.”
Encourage excellence and quality, but reward conformity. When staff members suggest an alternative method or challenge standard operating procedure, ignore them. Bright professionals learn not to suggest or encourage change
change is threatening. Besides, you probably don’t want your staff wasting time
finding new ways to improve service.
Give no feedback.
Give them their assignments, but don’t check on their progress. Without your input, maybe they’ll discover
a new methodology for that assignment. When they fail or
miss a deadline, give excessive feedback and imply that you don’t trust them. Then
give them assignments and check on their progress all the time. When a staff member makes an error, particularly a significant one, encourage them