Friday, August 22, 2008

The Acid Test

Ok...so it's Friday...you've worked all week and are looking forward to the weekend. If you are a manager or superisor you may have the "Thank God It's Friday!" feeling because your folks (or, one of them, specifically) are driving you crazy.

In today’s workplace or volunteer organization there will always be people who don’t step up and do their part. Whether you must manage those people or work beside them as a co-worker, trying to understand why they don’t do their jobs can be a challenge. Use this Acid Test to determine what the real problem might be.

1. Does the person know what the job is? How do you know?
2. Does the person know the quality of performance expected? How do you know?
3. Has the person performed the job correctly in the past? If so, the answers to #1 and #2 are probably “Yes.” The cause of lowered performance is probably a recent event.
4. Is something going on in the person’s life?
5. Is something going on in the person’s job environment? Has the job changed over time or since the last time the person performed it or since the last performance appraisal? Look for changes in people (co-workers), information or things (ex. Equipment or tools).
6. Does the person want to do a “good” job?
7. Does the person have adequate resources to do the job? Resources might be time, authority, $$$, tools or information.
8. Does the person lack the ability to do the job? What skills or knowledge do they need?
9. Is over-qualification the problem? Over-qualification leads to boredom.
10. Does the person know that they are not meeting your expectations?
11. Have you explained the problem specifically?
12. What might you be doing to contribute to the problem? Do you have an observer or colleague who will be candid with you about your management style and performance?

Start at #1 and work your way down. I'm betting you'll find a reason why the problem person is acting the way they do. Use a little time on today or over the weekend to formulate a plan to deal with them. Then come in on Monday morning ready to implement the plan. This is a great way to end this week and start the next one.

Have a great weekend! See you Monday.

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