2.2 - Explain the possible causes of underperformance

Causes can be numerous and it is important that we don't make too many assumptions about what we know about our teams.

It is very easy to assume performance is going down hill just because there has been a change in some area or we have a staff member down. These are the obvious external signs but might not be the root cause and the team could have been gradually 'dipping' prior to these events.

It is worth considering a range of causes and identifying which one is having the biggest impact on team performance. 

The range might include a change in focus of the organisation and the teams are working out what is now expected of them. This is a transition period and not necessarily a permanent dip in performance.

Have the team been placed under more pressure than usual due to staff shortages and therefore they are just not physically capable of meeting the expectations?

There may a lack of support from the manager either in the way they manage them, with a focus on what is wrong and no recognition of what is going well. Or it could be that the manager just isn't present enough and teams have been left to just get on with it. 

This may in turn lead to low levels of motivation and this is well known as a direct impact on performance. 

It may be a resource issue that is causing the problem. Staff may be expected to meet certain standards and time frames but the resources and equipment are hindering this.

They may have lost their 'team' approach. If managers allow individuals to work too much in isolation, without any work on ensuring there is a team approach, this can lead to conflict within the team. 

Role changes can lead to a lack of clarity within in a team and can also impact on confidence. If team members keep on asking exactly what they should be doing, by when, and how they should actually perform the task then this indicates that their responsibilities have not been specified clearly enough.

Equally, too much direction and not enough showing of value to teams can impact on performance.  

Tip -

Try to discuss what the effect might be as well as the cause.

Try not to just discuss personal issues, think about how the company may create the causes.