Are there people in your team or life who are coasting? I think we all have experienced this principle, that a few folks on a team do most of thew work while a larger percentage do what seems like the bare minimum to get by. The challenge for me, as a coach, is that I am almost never interacting with the under-achievers. Instead, I am speaking to the boss or over-achieving colleague who is frustrated and feels burdened. This may also be your experience as the boss, when your super-performing subordinates are complaining about their less ambitious colleagues. So how can you or I make a difference in this scenario?
One of the approaches that I have used is based on the premise that people rise to the expectations we have for them. They also descend to the expectations we have for them. So to alter another person’s performance you may have to first deal with your own belief structure and the mental ceiling you have assumed of that individual’s potential. I realize this isn’t the kind of magical fix that you expect. After all, if you are not the problem, why does the solution come back to you? Well, because you’re the one whose problem it has become, and you’re the one committed to altering it. In reality, we could say that about anything, couldn’t we? But in this case, there is some significant research that shows that when under-performing workers are provided with “stretch goals” and coaching that presumes their competence and ambition, they exceed their past performance.
For you, that means changing a few things involving the management of and thought process about under-performers. If you are not the supervisor , then this coaching should go to their supervisor. Create a game. A game that demands more of that person. This is counter-intuitive, because when people under-perform we are inclined to give them less work and easier goals. This coaching is opposite to that. Raise the bar. Assume their greatness. And tell them so. As always, every case is difference. But the more entrenched your belief that this will not work, the more I suggest it will. Your entrenchment is one of the reasons that it stays as it is. So try it. Elevate your lowest performing team member, raise the demand for them to excel, and have conversations in which you assume they are completely able and delighted to do and deliver more and better results. Let me know how it works.
For a free consultation to experience coaching and see how it makes you a more powerful leader, contact me.