Almost every organization has people who are happy to be on your team because they’re allowed to do just enough to get by. How do you motivate those mediocre who just want to “get by”?
The simple answer is this: You cannot motivate people. Another person can’t motivate Randy; only Randy can motivate Randy.
However, as the leader, you can create an environment in which Randy is self-motivated. To do that, it’s important to get in touch with what’s going on. You must first understand why people aren’t performing up to reasonable expectations and then go to work on a solution.
Take a stand against mediocre performers. Identify them, then take corrective action.
Here are what I consider the three main reasons leaders have mediocre performers and possible solutions for correction:
1. Lack of accountability from leadership. People get away with things and pay no consequences for their actions. Leaders must reset expectations and consequences, follow up (not micromanage), provide support, and give feedback on work performances (both good and bad).
2. Goals that don’t challenge them. When expectations are met easily, mediocre performance sets in. Leaders must challenge their team with stretch goals that generate a reward. Add to that a need to regularly monitor progress and celebrate small milestones along the way.
3. Work that doesn’t seem meaningful. There can be a disconnect between the work an employee does and his/her perception of its importance. Leaders must emphasize the purpose of the organization, while making employees understand the value they add in their individual roles. Everyone wants to feel important. It’s up to leaders to create the environment in which they do.
What other reasons do people perform at below-average level? Identify them, then take corrective action. If you don’t, you risk losing your credibility as a leader.