How to Motivate an Underperforming Team

Posted on written by Alasdair Sim

Not everyone performs to their highest level 100% of the time. This is OK as we are only human however when it starts to become a problem you need to take action. In fact, many managers are left wondering how to motivate an underperforming team when nothing they do seems to work.

This week we want to look at methods you can use to find out the root cause of the underperformance and what you can do to boost the teams’ productivity.

Start Investigating The Root Issue Right Away

Small and infrequent dips in performance are natural however action is needed when it starts to happen with more regularity and over a longer period of time.

Don’t go in all guns blazing as this rarely work as a motivation technique. Investigate the root issues regarding the underperformance. If an employee doesn’t have the necessary training or skills, then that is down to you as a manager. Motivating your team is all well and good but you need to start with the core competencies and experience required to actually carry out the tasks first.

Recognise The Individuals In Your Team

They key to understanding poor results and learning how to motivate an underperforming team is to learn the dynamics of your staff.

A team consists of individuals. They might not always work in harmony and this is when you should look at effective ways to deal with workplace conflict. Even if there aren’t any issues between staff, you should learn what makes each individual ‘tick’. One employee might have a very different means of becoming motivated than another and this is crucial to ensuring that all the different parts of your team have both collective and individual motivators to increase performance.

Offer Additional Incentives For Better Performance

The aged old question of the carrot and the stick rears its head in management every now and again. Do you use something positive to motivate your employee’s or do you push a negative consequence if performance doesn’t improve?

When we looked at treating your employee’s like an asset we showed how treating your staff in the right way can be a great long term motivator. Offering additional incentives whether this is bonuses, non-financial rewards or better career progression can seriously take a demotivated and unproductive team and turn them into one that produces results again.

How To Motivate An Underperforming Team

Producing the same level of results across a long period of time isn’t easy and you should expect spikes and dips now and again.

It is great when everything is going well and work is being completed to a high standard on time. Motivating an underperforming workforce is the real challenge. The key is to discover the root causes of the underperformance and then strike a balance between positive and negative reinforcement.

Simply charging in and berating your team for their poor results will likely do more damage than good.

How do you motivate an underperforming team? Do you have any methods that we haven’t covered? We’d love to hear what you have to say.

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