How to Help Struggling Employees Excel

by | Jul 5, 2023 | Podcast

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How do you help struggling employees excel? In any workplace, it’s not uncommon for employees to face performance issues at some point. Whether it’s difficulty meeting targets, struggling with new responsibilities, or feeling overwhelmed by the workload, as a colleague or manager, you have the power to support and empower them. By listening, seeking to understand, and offering practical solutions, you can help struggling employees overcome their performance challenges and thrive.

In this week’s episode of Reflect Forward, we explore some practical strategies to assist an employee in need and why leaders must prioritize compassion and understanding.

Why Leaders Need to Listen, Seek to Understand, and Be Compassionate

Leadership isn’t just about delegating tasks and expecting results. It involves fostering a culture of empathy and support. By actively listening to struggling employees, seeking to understand their perspectives, and showing compassion, leaders can build trust, improve communication, and create an environment where employees feel valued and motivated. This approach cultivates loyalty, boosts morale, and enhances overall team performance.

How to Help a Struggling Employee

Open the Lines of Communication: Start by initiating an open and honest conversation with the struggling employee. Encourage them to share their concerns, difficulties, and any obstacles they’re facing. Create a safe space where they feel comfortable discussing their performance challenges without fear of judgment or reprimand.

Identify Underlying Issues: Dig deeper and identify any underlying factors contributing to the problem. Is it a lack of training, unclear expectations, or personal obstacles? By understanding the root cause, you can tailor your support accordingly.

Provide Targeted Support and Guidance: Once you understand the challenges, offer practical solutions and guidance to help the struggling employee improve their performance, such as mentoring, skill-building workshops, or revisiting their job responsibilities to ensure a better fit.

Set Realistic Goals and Milestones: Collaborate with the struggling employee to set realistic goals and break them into achievable milestones. This approach allows for progress tracking and instills a sense of accomplishment, boosting motivation.

Offer Constructive Feedback and Recognition: Regularly provide constructive feedback to help the person understand areas of improvement and offer guidance for growth. Recognize their efforts and accomplishments, reinforcing positive behavior and fostering a supportive work environment.

Supporting struggling employees in improving their performance is an essential responsibility for leaders and colleagues alike. By actively listening, seeking to understand the root causes of their challenges, and approaching them with compassion, we can create an environment conducive to growth and success. Through targeted support, clear goal setting, constructive feedback, and recognition of their efforts, we can empower struggling employees to overcome obstacles, develop their skills, and excel in their roles. Remember, a workplace that prioritizes understanding and support benefits individuals, strengthens the overall team dynamics, and fosters a culture of growth and achievement.

Question of the Week

This week’s question came from someone on LinkedIn who asked, “How do I get better at giving constructive feedback? I am always nervous and want to avoid giving it.”

Great question! Overcoming the fear of giving feedback can be challenging, but you can gradually build your confidence with the right approach. Here are some strategies to help you get over your fear of giving feedback:

  • Understand the importance of feedback
  • Prepare and gather information
  • Start with small steps
  • Focus on the positive intent
  • Choose the right timing and environment
  • Use “I” statements

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