Blog / Managing Underperforming Teams


A disengaged or unfocused team can cause a productivity breakdown in any business. The job of a manager is to decipher the underlying issues and get the team or individual employees back on track. When managing these underperforming people, here are some things to consider:

Get to Know your Employees - Whether you are having difficulty with a specific worker or an entire team, your job as a manager is to get to know your team and understand what makes them tick. Focus on what made them stand out and be hired in the first place. Find their talent or skill set and give them projects that will matter to them and make them successful. Don’t dismiss the possibility a situation in their personal life could be affecting their work. In any event, once you understand the cause, you can better assess how to re-engage them.

Share the Company’s Goals and Vision - Frequently employees will be disengaged, causing them to underperform because they can’t see how their duties contribute to the goals of the company. Be sure all members of your team understand their worth within the organization and the impact they have on peers, customers and upper level management. Once they see how their work ties into the success of the company, their work has more meaning and they become more invested in doing a great job.

Offer Continuous Training - When new procedures or techniques are implemented, there may be some confusion with members of the team on how to carry them out. Recognize the importance of offering training or retraining to those who simply didn’t understand the rollout of procedures the first time. It could be a very simple solution to help reignite the passion they originally had for the job.

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Provide Feedback - This is probably the most important thing a manager can do to help motivate underperforming employees or teams. Spend time giving them honest feedback about their performance and just as important, allow them time to talk about issues they feel are important. If there are areas causing problems, try to work toward a common solution that will benefit all members of the organization.

When teams start to breakdown and don’t perform as well as they have, getting to the source of problem as quickly as possible is imperative. Focus on the strengths of the team and isolate the trigger that may be the source of underperformance. Once you can determine the root of the problem, addressing and correcting it will be effortless.