If an employee is having a hard time reaching his or her goals, there can be a number of things going wrong. In order to get things on track, leaders need to look at the employee’s work history, level of passion, and the individual’s success rate to determine from where the problem stems and how the situation might be improved.
The Two Major Disconnects in Employee Goals
Managers typically notice two types of disconnects when it comes to missed goals. In one scenario, the employee is capable of far more than he or she is giving. Thus, they aren’t performing to their full potential. In the other common scenario, employees are giving all they can, and they just aren’t performing to the level expected.
When these common disconnects occur, it’s time to examine more than just the employee’s short-term performance goals. In these cases, it can be effective to examine the employee’s long-term goals, as well as the long-term goals of the department and the organization. More often than not in these situations, the employee’s goals are misaligned with the bigger picture.
These misalignments can be difficult for leaders to rectify. Often, an employee is working extremely hard to meet his or her goals, but those goals always seem to be just out of reach. Usually, those types of employees are happy and a joy to work with, which makes it difficult to sit down and have tough conversations.
Other times, an employee might be an extremely high performer who just isn’t passionate about what he or she is currently doing. Such people may be a whiz at the job, but a drag on morale because their personal goals aren’t being met, leaving them unsatisfied and unhappy. Again, this puts a manager in a tough spot, because nobody wants to lose a high-performer, but nobody wants to work with an unhappy team member, either.
Having The Tough Conversation
No matter what type of situation you find yourself with an employee—someone who misses goals but tries very hard, or someone who hits goals but clearly needs new opportunities—these situations can be difficult to tackle. As a manager, it is your job to ensure that your team members are not only performing well, but also that they are growing. If they aren’t, you owe it to them to address the situation and come up with a solution.
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The problem could be that the employee is in the wrong seat on your bus. A move to a new job or a new department may be just the right change to keep the company moving forward and keep a dedicated employee happy and engaged. Other times, the employee isn’t on the right bus. In those cases, the result means an inevitable parting of ways as the employee searches for opportunities that will be a better fit for them in the future.
Put The Employee First
The hardest part for leaders in these situations is the negative self-talk that will inevitably occur before any conversation is held with the employee. However, you have to stop and take a breath and realize that if you don’t have this kind of conversation with your employee about his or her future, then you don’t really care about them. In order to keep the company moving forward and to help your team members meet their goals, you have to be willing to have hard conversations.
While the employee may not receive it well in the present, it is likely that after they make a change, they’ll look back and thank you for sitting them down and examining what it is they truly want from their career.