Personal problems often the root cause of underperformance

By Patrick J. McKenna and David H. Maister
|Canadian HR Reporter|Last Updated: 05/27/2002

When someone in the group is not “pulling their weight,” the desire to avoid conflict leads many group leaders to waste a lot of time and personal energy trying to rationalize, rather than correct, the problem. The result is to let the individual off the hook.

Another common mistake in dealing with underperformance is rushing to talk to the underperformer without pausing to consider why the person is underperforming. At a meeting of group leaders we asked the people there to list the common reasons why their colleagues underperform. Here’s their list:

•trouble at home or other personal problems (divorce, alcoholism, depression, etc.);