When an employee is not performing at the level the supervisor expects, it is easy to blame the employee but the supervisor should first assess themselves. Is the lack of performance due to employee incompetence or is it really due to a lack of training/mentoring from the supervisor?

I believe there are many ex-employees who could have thrived in their positions if they had been given the right support and ongoing attention that they required. Supervisors often feel like they don’t have the time to coach an employee over an extended period of time, yet somehow they find the time to conduct a search and begin the training process all over again with someone new. Far better to invest in the employees they have.

It is incumbent upon the supervisor to communicate the vision, values and norms – and to make ongoing, repeated course corrections if required to help the employee align with the culture. It requires frank, honest and oftentimes uncomfortable conversations to speak the truth about expectations and performance gaps. It also requires a mindset that the goal is to make the relationship work, rather than to focus on what isn’t.

It would be awesome if all our employees were intuitive enough to know how to deliver what is expected of them, but oftentimes supervisors fail to clarify and provide the resources for either the know-how or the expectations portion of the equation. Yes, it requires time to help your employees thrive, but it is the best investment of yourself that you can make.

About the Author leadership dots by dr. beth triplett

I'm the chief connector at leadership dots where I serve as "the string" for individuals and organizations. Like stringing pearls together to make a necklace, "being the string" is an intentional way of thinking and behaving – making linkages between things that otherwise appear random or unconnected – whether that be supervising a staff, completing a dissertation or advancing a project in the workplace. I share daily leadership dots on my blog to provide examples of “the string” in action. I use the string philosophy through coaching, consulting and teaching to help others build capacity in themselves and their organizations. I craft analogies and metaphors that help people comprehend complex topics and understand their role in the system. My favorite work involves helping those new to supervision or newly promoted supervisors build confidence and learn the skills necessary to effectively lead their team.

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