Leaders shoulder myriads of responsibilities and expect their team to deliver quality work within the estimated timeline. However, teams have underdogs who overshoot deadlines, for which you lose an important client. Some leaders’ immediate reactions to this are termination, demotion, curbing responsibilities, or limiting flexibilities of the defaulter. Now, how you react to a challenging situation showcases your leadership style. In this article at Lab Manager, Alesia Latson discusses how leaders should effectively manage underdogs.
How Leaders Should React
There are two ways you could react to underdogs—either criticize and lower their self-esteem or give them constructive feedback and mentor their growth. Organizations expect leaders to make decisions that would be beneficial in the long run. You must decide whether you want to train a new employee or help the existing defaulter to shine. Here are a few ways effective leaders manage underperformance.
- Be Specific: You lost face in front of the client and it is okay to be upset. However, your reaction is crucial to the employee’s career. Collect your thoughts and jot down the points you want to discuss with the employee. Decide what you want out of the meeting.
- Assess Your Role First: If a project fails, leaders bear the brunt of it. So, instead of putting the whole blame on the employee, assess if you were the reason for their failure. Employees have their own pace of work. Identify if you have given them a reasonable deadline or a foolproof training before assigning the project.
- Be Optimistic: Employees would never want to ruin a project that could make or break their career. Their inability to judge the criticality of the situation has landed them in this situation. They already know what they have done wrong and are ready to compensate for that. If you keep that in mind, your anger will automatically diminish.
- Approach Objectively: If you separate the mistake from the employees and look at it objectively, it would be easier for them to open up about their mistakes. You would reach the root cause of the problem faster. In the majority of cases, all that the defaulters want is another chance. So, if you are empathetic enough, they will give their best efforts to prevent repetitions of such poor performance.
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