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ReConnect Africa is a unique website and online magazine for the African professional in the Diaspora. Packed with essential information about careers, business and jobs, ReConnect Africa keeps you connected to the best of Africa.


Dear Career Coach,
One of my team is causing me a real problem. He doesn’t put in the same effort as he did before. How do I get him to do what’s expected of him?

Although it may sound obvious, my first thought is ‘have you asked him what’s gone wrong?’ If your colleague was working well at the start of the project, something must have caused his performance to drop. If you haven’t already done so, you should take him aside or, better still, arrange a quiet room and discuss with him what he feels are the blocks to his performance.

People can under perform for many reasons; if they are bored, for instance, and feel that their work is not challenging or stimulating enough. It can also happen if people are feeling overburdened or overwhelmed and decide to ‘switch off’ or do the bare minimum rather than rise to the challenge. It may relate to poor time management on his part or changes in his role that have not been clearly explained or for which he is less competent. Alternatively, there may be some conflict in the team that you are not aware of that is impacting on his performance. It could relate to events happening outside the workplace or in his personal life. It could also be that you are the problem by not communicating what you want and need from him in a clear and consistent way.

You should aim to make him part of the solution by involving him in an honest discussion and setting new objectives and performance targets that will help you evaluate whether he is someone you can keep on your team. Keep these objectives achievable, clear, specific and measurable so that you can both assess and agree on whether he has met them. Both of you should keep a record of what you have agreed and the timeframes that you are using to assess his performance.

Finally, let him know that he can, and should, be open about any issues that are affecting his performance. It should be clear to him that you are trying to help him and if you can maintain a professional but supportive environment, he should be able to trust you to help him improve.

Congratulations on trying to be a great manager and not just giving up on your team mate and good luck with getting your great guy back on track!

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