If you are having problems with a team member, it’s important to first identify whether the issue is a people problem or a process problem. Often times, what we perceive as a problem with an individual may actually be a result of unclear processes or expectations. If this is the case, addressing the process problem can help the team member improve their performance in the future.
To determine whether the issue is a process problem, consider the following:
- Was the task or expectation clearly communicated to the team member?
- Were the necessary resources provided for the team member to complete the task?
- Was the team member trained on how to perform the task or fulfill the expectation?
- Was the team member given adequate support and guidance as needed?
If the answer to any of these questions is no, it’s possible that the problem is a process issue rather than a people issue. In this case, you can take steps to improve the process, such as providing clearer communication, training, and support to the team member and making sure you have clearly documented procedures. You can get more details about how to become a master at delegating in this article on effective delegation.
If, however, you have determined that the problem is not a “process problem” resulting from unclear processes or expectations, it may be that the team member simply isn’t the right fit for their position or needs additional training.
Some signs that the problem may be a “people problem” include:
- The team member consistently fails to meet expectations, even when given clear instructions and adequate resources.
- The team member has a negative attitude or is resistant to feedback or change.
- The team member is frequently absent or late or has poor time management skills.
- The team member is frequently in conflict with other team members or lacks good interpersonal skills.
- The team member does not take ownership of their work or shirks responsibilities.
If you are seeing any of these behaviors from a team member, it may be necessary to have a conversation with them to address the issue and find a solution.
It’s important to approach the situation with empathy and a desire to find a solution that works for both the team member and the team as a whole. By taking a collaborative approach and working together, you can overcome any challenges and improve the team’s overall performance. Sometimes the solution will be to provide different working conditions, more training, revised responsibilities, better clarification on their role, or to move them to a different role. Other times the solution may mean they are not a good fit for your company.
It’s worth noting that sometimes a problem with a team member may be a combination of both a people issue and a process issue. In this case, it’s important to take steps to address both issues in order to effectively resolve the problem.
The next time you are feeling frustrated with a team member, stop for a moment and ask yourself: “Is this a process problem or a people problem?” Then, you can refer back to the steps above for guidance on how to best resolve the issue for either or both of those scenarios.