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How Bosses Create Their Own Poor Performers

Managers often do not blame themselves when an employee fails or performs poorly.

Management may argue that the employee does not comprehend his work. Or the employee isn’t motivated to achieve, can’t determine priorities, or refuses to follow instructions.

Whatever the reason, the employee is thought to be at blame and responsible for the situation.


Of course, sometimes the answer is yes. Some personnel cannot complete their assigned jobs and will never be able to do so due to a lack of knowledge, talent, or basic desire. However, an employee’s bad performance might occasionally be attributed to his supervisor!

The set-up-to-fail syndrome usually begins invisibly. The initial impulse can be tied to performance, such as when an employee loses a client, misses a target, or misses a deadline. However, the trigger is frequently less explicit. A tepid reference from a previous employer leads to an employee’s transfer into a division. Or maybe the employer and the employee don’t get along on a personal level—many studies from executive leadership coaching have shown that compatibility between boss and subordinate, based on comparable attitudes, values, or social features, can have a big impact on a boss’s impressions. In any case, the syndrome develops when the manager becomes concerned that the employee’s performance is subpar.

In light of the subordinate’s perceived weaknesses, the boss then takes what appears to be the apparent action: he increases the amount of time and attention he devotes to the employee. He demands the employee obtain approval before making decisions, requests extra documentation documenting those decisions, or closely monitors the individual during meetings and criticizes his comments.

Following are the stages of how manager create their own poor performers:

  1. Event:

There is some little occurrence between an employee and the boss: it could be performance, character compatibility, differences in work techniques, or simply simple miscommunication.

  1. Supervision:

The manager increases supervision by issuing more explicit instructions and checking to see if they were followed correctly.

  1. Distancing:

When an employee lacks trust, he or she will likely remove themselves from the supervisor and begin taking on greater difficulties or just more work to prove them wrong.

  1. Constriction:

The manager recognizes this behavior and believes it demonstrates poor judgment, increasing supervision, micromanagement, and reducing agents.

  1. Disconnection:

The employee now feels tethered to the job, with very limited tasks and continual micromanagement, which may even cause some controversy, and they spend more time defending themselves rather than producing.

  1. Frustration:

The supervisor is now certain the employee is incapable of performing and is open about it.

  1. Leave:

 As a result, the employee closes down, requests a transfer, or, worse, quits.

Ways for Leaders to Help Their Employees Succeed:

  • Listen to what your staff has to say and then listen some more.

  • Keep in mind that your role as a leader is to assist your team in succeeding.

  • Concentrate on what your staff is doing correctly rather than what they are doing badly.

  • Do not avoid uncomfortable conversations with your staff.

  • Continue to communicate your vision to your staff through leadership training.

  • Address any negative right away; don’t let it fester.

  • Accept responsibility while also giving credit.

BeLeader is one of the leadership training companies in Pune that offers comprehensive corporate leadership training that helps in creating a safe environment for employees to discuss their performance and relationships with their employers. Connect with us to book a free 20 mins appointment.

Courtesy: HBR Online (The set up to fail syndrome)

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