The 5 Reasons Employees Don’t Perform Well

Employee non-performance is one of the most common topics of discussion in my coaching sessions with business owners and managers. Frustrations run high because the managers assume employees “should know” what a good job looks like. However, upon further questioning, many times the solution lies in the leadership abilities of the owner or manager. Without realizing it, the leader may be contributing to his team members’ lack of performance.

Below are five reaons why employees do not perform well along with the corresponding suggestions for improvement…


Solution: Clarify or set goals and define standards and expectations. Paint a vivid picture of what a good job looks like. Let your team members know the “why” of what you ask them to do so they have the big picture and fully understand the importance of their jobs.

Reason #2 – DON’T KNOW HOW

Solution: This is about training. Have you done a proper job of traiing your employees so they have the knowledge, skills and abilities to satisfactorily perform? Do they have the correct tools, resources and support?

Reason #3 – DON’T KNOW WIIFM (What’s In It For Me?)

Solution: This one deals with motivation. People are motivated by what’s important to them. The more you understand and know your team members, the more you can provide a motivational environment where they will want to perform well because they benefit in some way from doing so. An example would be to give new projects and tasks to someone who likes to stay challenged. As long as you keep this person growing and stretching, she will be happy and productive. If she becomes bored, she may become unproductive and worse, troublesome.

Do you provide positive reinforcement for good performance and behavior? What are your reward systems? Are you rewarding the right things? Are you certain you’re not sending mixed messages? Many times leaders say they want strong, effective teamwork but they reward individual success.

Reason #4 – NOT CAPABLE

Solution: This is the proverbial Square-Peg-In-A-Round-Hole Syndrome. Implement Warren’s hiring practices to ensure a good fit between the employee and the knowledge, skills, abilities and characteristics required for the position.

Reason #5 – NOT WILLING

Solution: When a small business transitions from a “Mom & Pop” run organization to a more professional approach to leadership, employee accountability is implemented. Many times longtime team members will resist this accountability and think it doesn’t apply to them. Afterall, “they’re just like family”, so the new rules of conduct are for everyone else.

Unfortunately, if these employees are not able to make the transition with you, they will either quit or have to be asked to leave. Otherwise, they will be disruptive to any organization change effort. This person will not make a positive contribution to the success of the organization. This is especially tough for family owned and operated businesses where that person may be a son, daughter, brother, wife, or other relative.

Coach Gail has been working with small business owners, managers and sales professionals for over 20 years. Located in the Panhandle of Florida, Coach Gail coaches her clients by phone and they are located throughout the United States. All of Coach Gail’s clients want to excel in their chosen fields and have a desire to continually develop themselves, their businesses and their team members. You can learn more about the results Coach Gail has helped her clients achieve by visiting her web site at You can also reach her by calling 850-927-4245 or emailing at [email protected].

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