Addressing individual underperformance

Sales managers have a responsibility to identify, understand and address the root causes of individual underperformance in their teams. Here are a few of the key considerations:

  1. Is this a short-term or a long-term issue? If the individual has historically been a performer, look for any changes in circumstance that may have caused a blip, and sympathetically coach them through it. If the individual has never performed to a satisfactory level, assess whether the issue is related to their attitude, their behaviours, or the competencies/skills.
  2. If the issue is related to competencies or skills, arrange for the necessary training – and continue to coach the individual in how to apply their new-found skills until their performance improves.
  3. If the issue is related to attitude or behaviour, does the individual acknowledge the issue, and want to do something about it? If so, implement a combination of coaching and personal development.
  4. If the individual is in denial. If – despite your efforts – the individual remains in denial about either the issue or its causes, you have to question whether they have a future in your organisation.
  5. Don’t ignore the issue (or hope it will go away). Performance issues rarely go away by themselves. You have a responsibility to confront the problem in a constructive way, even if that makes for uncomfortable conversations.
Addressing Individual Underperformance