Underperforming employees can be such a nightmare to deal with, can’t they?
I think the most important part is to still remember their humanity. Love them first, and have a soft heart about your dealings with them.
It is so easy to forget that others do not have our same experiences and motivations.
They likely have, different parents, a different upbringing, different values instilled in them, a different college experience, a different last job, different experiences with past bosses and corporate culture, different values, and different ambitions.
At the end of the day, of course, you may have to let them go, but I think this passage below is spot on.
Transparency is necessary.
“We are looking for X from you and we are getting Y. Let’s talk about how we can fix this.”
Ifthere’s an underperforming person on your team, it’s easy to ignore him for a while and hope his manager either helps him improve or fires him. It’s much harder and more uncomfortable to thoughtfully process why you’re unhappy with him, document instances of unwanted behavior, have a direct conversation with the team member, and, if necessary, coach him or work to find mentorship/coaching/classes (whatever it takes to give him the tools to get better if he has the desire). It could still end up that you (or his manager) may have to ultimately fire him. That’s the thing with transparency: sometimes, the outcome is the same, but how you got there, and the downside risk, is remarkably different.
-Rand Fishkin, Lost And Founder