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Bryan Edwards

ABC Training Solutions - off shelf training materials

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Skill or Will is the answer – what’s the question?


The question of staff performance management boils down to 3 simple questions:

Knowledge: Do they know what to do?

Skill: Do they know how to do it?

Will: Do they want to do it?


"As a leader you must understand the needs in individuals and how they operate, so that you can work with the grain of human nature and not against it"



Time needs to be spent to address under performance so that staff fulfill their potential.

Some suggestions to help include:

  • Find the reason for under-performance allows the manager to tackle the problem (not the symptom)
  • Set clear objectives and give unambiguous feedback regularly on staff performance
  • Give behavioural feedback on what has been observed and how it doesn’t match up to the standard required. Stressing the effect of the behaviour can also be influential
  • Encourage and motivate the individual. Perhaps a change of managerial style might produce better results
  • Look for signs indicating bullying or harassment, or perhaps problems at home. Unless the manager really listens, solutions may never be found
  • Offer extra coaching if required. It could be that they need a confidence boost or perhaps have difficulty with stress
  • Adjust workloads/add variety/delegate extra duties to build self esteem. Beware that it’s not seen as a reward for under-performance
  • Adjust the way in which the work is done to improve systems/processes
  • Transfer staff member to another department/job. Again a risk of the action being seen as a reward for under-performance
  • Where the performance gap is large, performance counselling may help – an informal meeting booked in advance in a quiet area away from the normal workspace
  • Consider disciplinary action

You've just got to find the right solution.

Bryan Edwards is Managing Director of ABC Training Solutions Ltd ( which delivers training throughout the U.K. and markets a range of fully-designed, ready to deliver workshops, self study packs and other training exercises for the busy trainer.

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Bryan Edwards - off shelf training materials

Read more from Bryan Edwards

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