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Don’t Blame Negative, Under-Performing Employees – 3 Reasons They Are Not at Fault

In a recent survey 44% of small business owners reported being unhappy with the performance of their employees.

To solve this type of problem, small business owners must first identify the cause and then create applicable solutions. There can be many reasons why employees under-perform and some leaders may point to poor attitudes, low motivation, low morale and individuals’ inability to work with others, or accept and adapt to change.

Although those reasons may be valid on the surface, there are always underlying issues that have led to the causes identified by the business leader.

The good news is that there are only two aspects to evaluate with under-performing employees. It’s either due to an individual’s:

  • ability, or
  • their attitude.

In either instance, the employee is not at fault.

(If you’d like help distinguishing whether its an ability or attitude issue and the communication issues that may have caused it and how better communication can fix it – let’s have a conversation. To schedule a free, no obligation Workplace Communication Assessment Strategy Session, go here now)

There are three primary communication mistakes business leaders make that prevent employees from being engaged in their workplace and contributing at higher levels:

Business Leader Mistake #1 – Not Giving Employees a Reason to be Engaged, Motivated & Contribute

Many business leaders mistakenly believe that providing someone the privilege of a steady income and certain quality of life via a paycheck should be enough to create a motivated employee.

Yet, studies continue to show that salary and benefits, although important for providing base levels of motivation, is not enough to generate higher levels of engagement.

Many managers and leaders say they are frustrated with the feeling they have to continually find ways to light a fire under their people to get them to do what needs to be done. Instead they should be investing energy in connecting to their employees on a personal level to instead find ways to light a fire within them.

One extremely effective way to do this is to apply the Employee Engagement Equation.

The Employee Motivation Equation begins with creating an inspiring vision for the company that employees at all levels will be excited to contribute to. Daniel Pink, in his 2010 book Drive: The Surprising Truth About What Motivates Us identified “Purpose” as one of the key motivating components for a 21st Century workforce.

Business Leader Mistake #2 – Creating a De-Motivating Environment

In any new relationship there is always a honeymoon period where all the parties involved have good feelings about the possibilities moving forward. It’s the same when a new hire joins a company.

Unfortunately, a survey of about 1.2 million employees at mostly Fortune 1000 companies in the early part of this century conducted by Sirota Survey Intelligence, and revealed in 2005 that in 85% of companies, employee morale sharply declines after an employee’s first six months on the job, and continues to fade in ensuring years.

In a significant number of companies, as this Sirota research shows, something is occurring in these work environments that causes an enthusiastic and engaged employee to change their attitude.

Many factors can be attributed to this drop off, some of which include:

  • Poorly communicated job descriptions and responsibilities causing uncertain performance expectations for the individual,
  • Inequity in managers addressing inappropriate behaviors and poor performance of co-workers,
  • Managers that play favorites and communicate disrespectfully in the workplace,
  • Lack of positive feedback for contributions made

Business Leader Mistake #3 – Making a Wrong Hiring Choice

In the haste to fill positions, often those making the hiring decisions fail to invest enough time in making sure the new hire is a good fit for the position.

A “good fit’ includes assessing skills, knowledge, attitude, talent, and the education and experience a prospective team member will bring into the work environment. I call this the S.K.A.T.E. Hiring Profile (Skills, Knowledge, Attitude, Talent, & Education/Experience).

Additionally, sometimes due to unforeseen circumstances employees are asked to fill roles not originally intended, and for which their skills and talents are not the best fit.

In these situations, despite the employee’s best efforts he or she is unable to meet desired performance expectations, causing both the employee and the employer become disenchanted with the relationship. Yet, the onus must be on the employer to get it right when inviting someone into his or her work culture, and when asking a team member to take on additional work responsibilities.

What You Can Do

Before proclaiming employees are unmotivated, and/or unwilling, to perform to expectations and bring positive attitudes to the work environment start evaluating these three workforce mistakes from an organizational leadership and communication perspective to see where there is room for improvement.

Remember that it comes down to only two causes. It is either an ability problem or an attitude problem. too many times training and coaching are provided as solutions to an attitude problem, which is a huge waste of resources. As you might imagine, fixing an attitude problem is much different, and much harder, than an ability problem, in most cases.

Here are 3 steps to get you started:

  1. First step is to get clarity there.
  2. Second, once you make that decision, know that for whichever you choose, the foundational cause of that situation is some form of communication.
  3. Third, decide on the best way to approach the situation and the individual.

(If you’d like help distinguishing whether its an ability or attitude issue and the communication issues that may have caused it and how better communication can fix it – let’s have a conversation. To schedule a free, no obligation Workplace Communication Assessment Strategy Session, go here now)


Your Performance Review Conversations Are Killing Your Company & Ruining Employees

February is “performance review” month for three of my clients.

It’s always a challenging time because you know, if you’ve ever been responsible for writing up performance reviews, they take A LOT of TIME!

It’s a big investment that for most small businesses (and it’s even worse in large corporations) does not deliver a return. And if you talk to those involved, it probably becomes a negative drain on employee morale, motivation, and engagement.

There is one reason why performance review processes don’t deliver a return on investment in most small businesses.

The reason is because few people understand the purpose for the performance review process.

But, before I can divulge the singular purpose of the performance review that you must understand, focus on, and apply when engaging in the process, I need your help.

Go here to answer the 1-question survey. When you answer the question you’ll receive my guide on The 5 Master Keys to Effective Performance Conversations.

And, you will also receive an e-mail with what I believe is the only correct answer, and it is the one that will transform your workplace into a championship performer, after you submit your answer to my survey.

’til next time, “Communicate with Power!”

skip-weisman-professional speaker-small business championship coach


Sometimes “Winning” Isn’t Enough – That’s Why Your Small Business Needs a “Championship Vision”

Happy New Year!

The National Football League season concluded this past Sunday in the United States, and immediately teams fired their coaches after losing seasons.

Seventy percent of the 17 teams with winning records qualified for the championship playoff tournament. Of those five other teams with winning records that didn’t qualify for the post-season, one, the Detroit Lions, fired their coach.

Firing coaches with winning records isn’t unusual.

I wouldn’t be surprised if one of the playoff teams’ coaches that doesn’t get to the championship Super Bowl game loses his job.

After the 2017 Major League Baseball season three managers (Joe Girardi of the NY Yankees, Dusty Baker of the Washington Nationals, and John Farrell of the Boston Red Sox) who led their teams into the playoffs were fired when they failed to reach the ultimate goal, the World Series.

What does this mean for you?HVR_1999NYPChampions

Two things:

Every team has a “championship game vision” and if they don’t achieve that goal or are on track according to its projected timetable, look out!

For the ones with winning seasons that don’t get to that championship game, “winning” just isn’t good enough.

There are four reasons why they may fall short, which are the same four reasons your company may not be achieving its goals:

  • Strategy,
  • Personnel,
  • Leadership and Teamwork, and
  • Execution

Second, January is the start of the new 2018 business season (if you are on a fiscal calendar year), this is a great time to decide on your “championship game vision?”

Typically, this work should be done in December or sometime in the 4th quarter, which for participants in my Small Business Championship Game Plan program is “training camp,” but January is not too late.

Is your work environment championship ready for this season?

Let’s take this time to assess Your Championship Company – go to this link to take a free short assessment and get the results immediately sent to you.

’til next time, “Communicate with Power!”

skip-weisman-professional speaker-small business championship coach


Whose Job Is It? The Small Business Workplace Accountability (and Communication) Challenge –

I clean my office twice a year, whether it needs it or not.

It’s a good thing, too, because last week I came across an embroidered wall hanging that may have some value for you.

I found it at the bottom of my office closet. As I was ironing it for the photo, I was racking my brain to remember where I got it.

Then, as I got to the bottom with the iron I saw “Made in Ireland” and I was transported back to my 2008 vacation on the Emerald Isle.

Do yourself a favor.

Take the 60-seconds you’ll need to read it.

As you read it notice if you ever feel this way about how people communicate at your company and the expectations of those on your team.












Have you ever had people use this type of language?

If so, how is it a problem for you?

What is it costing you and your company?

What do you think? Leave a comment below to continue the discussion.

‘til next time, remember, Communicate With Power!

skip-weisman-professional speaker-small business championship coach



One Strategy to Overcome Co-Worker Personality Conflicts in a Small Business Workplace

Do you notice that many, if not most, conflicts in the workplace tend to be between people whose personalities don’t seem to be a match.

This often isn’t, or at least shouldn’t be, the case.

It only becomes a clash of personalities because there was some initial performance or behavior that was not addressed promptly, directly, and respectfully enough.

When these performance and behavior issues are left unaddressed co-workers often take matters into their own hands. Typically, they do it in a dis-empowering manner.

You’ve probably seen it.

A co-worker tries to address the problem by pointing fingers, blaming the other person, and worst of all, questioning the other person’s “intent.”

No wonder this person ends up with a bad attitude and difficult personality. I would too, if people were questioning my intent.

Often, people’s intent is good, but their ability or their approach isn’t at the level it needs to be.

One of the best ways to resolve “personality” differences that stem from co-workers just getting in each other’s way while doing their respective jobs is to separate the individual’s personality and intent, from the actual performance of the job or task.

Focus on whether the individual performed the job and achieved the desired results expected of them.

Take personality and intent out of it.

Assume positive intent. Assume they wanted to do a good job and just missed the mark.

It’s much easier to have a conversation around someone’s performance than someone’s personality.

Never question someone’s intent because then you are making assumptions and trying to be a mind-reader and come across as only looking to serve your own purposes.

What do you think? Leave a comment below to continue the discussion.

‘til next time, remember, Communicate With Power!

skip-weisman-professional speaker-small business championship coach



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