Picture the scene – you’re a manager running a busy team. But one team member isn’t pulling their weight. They used to be a great performer, but you have noticed small frustrations creeping in – their time keeping has slipped, they don’t volunteer for work the way they used to, and they just seem to have withdrawn from the rest of the team. None of the issues on their own are hugely problematic, but they are annoying. What do you do?
The honest response most managers give is ‘probably nothing’. That’s not because the manager can’t be bothered; it’s a very common human response. We all suffer from inertia in situations like this – we just don’t know the best way to tackle it, so we step away from it. It’s how our brains are hard-wired – to step away from potential confrontation and difficult conversations. However, it’s precisely these early moments when we need to step in and have good conversations. Our experience shows us that early resolution is far more likely to be successful. Looked at another way – doing nothing won’t resolve the issue and increases the risk of that problem becoming more serious and harder to resolve.