In his book, Why Employees Don’t Do What They’re Supposed to Do, and What to Do About It, Ferdinand F. Fournies lists two main causes:
- The manager did something wrong to or for the employees, or
- The manager failed to do something right to or for the employees
He provides a list of “hidden reasons” for employee nonperformance to include:
- They don’t know they should do it
- They don’t know how to do it
- They don’t know what they are supposed to do
- They think your way will not work
- They think their way is better
- They think something else is more important
- There is no positive consequence to them for doing it
- They think they are doing it
- They are rewarded for not doing it
- They are punished for doing what they are supposed to do
- They anticipate a negative consequence for doing it
- There is no negative consequence to them for poor performance
- Obstacles beyond their control
- Their personal limits prevent them from performing
- Personal problems
- No one could do it
Any of these sound familiar to you, Joe and Wanda?
Joe Kerr: I think Ferd is overlooking the key here, and that’s motivation. If you motivate your employees, they get the job done, and nothing motivates like a healthy dose of fear. “Don’t bother me with excuses. I’m not your father. I’m your boss. Do your job, or I’ll find someone else to do it.”
Wanda B. Goode: I’ve seen just about all of these and have been guilty of causing many of them myself. It’s not surprising that several deal with miscommunication and mixed messages.
Punishing employees for doing what they are supposed to is an interesting one. It’s not obvious, but it happens. For instance, we sometimes cut people off or treat them harshly when they ask questions or come to us for assistance. Ferdinand uses other great examples too. How often do we reward the person who knocks out the difficult work with a boatload of more difficult work, or saddle the person that volunteers a great idea with the privilege of executing it all by themselves? Some reward.
For another perspective, check out the following post on Top Reasons for Poor Performance at Work.
Has anyone else experienced some of the above “hidden reasons?”