Assessing and Analyzing Weak Performance
Missionary Jim Kilgore
How many times have the Pastor, Director, or Supervisor agonized over a performance problem in the Church or Business? During the interview process, all of the questions seemed to be answered correctly; the attitude seemed to be so positive; and you were convinced of a solid, “Better than Average” work ethic.
Yet as time went on you noticed the enthusiasm waning; the performance objectives simply were not being met; and you even discovered that this individual was just “putting in their time.” Yes, they displayed a lot of Activity, yet so little Accomplishment.
You were at a loss for words. What has happened, you asked yourself? What started with high expectations has turned into what might become a “Big Bust” if things do not change, and change rather quickly.
Now you find yourself in a quandary. What shall I do now? What are the next steps that must be taken? I do not want to fire this young preacher? Yet if his performance does not improve, what choice will I have?
These are some fair questions you might be asking, however they are three questions that I have earned from “Experience” to ask, and then prayerfully answer.
As a leader, you compromise the team by failing to address poor performance. When I noticed someone had developed a pattern of poor work, I would ask the following questions about the individual. You must as well.
(1) Are they ‘In Over their Heads’? If so, TRAINING is the Solution
- If I determine that someone is, it is ‘over their heads,’ it is at this point that I ask myself the following question. Are they in this position because it is a matter of ‘Skill or Will?’
- If it is a ‘Will’ issue, then I will discipline the individual and provide a development plan to improve performance. If it is a ‘Skill’ issue, then I will provide additional training.
(2) Are they Sitting in the WRONG Seat? If so, TRANSFERRING is the Solution
I ask myself, “Do I have the right person sitting in the wrong seat on the bus? Someone may have abundant ability, and yet still perform poorly if they are in the wrong position. If this is the case, consider the possibility of transferring them to another role, that may be much better suited to their natural strengths. Perhaps they are not suited to be your Youth Pastor, but you believe they could perform very well as your Evangelism Pastor. This is a position you might consider for them, and you might well see them excel.
(3) Are they Unwilling to Change? If so, TERMINATION is the Solution
It’s Not Your Job to “Fix” Every Under-performer. This sounds so harsh, but the hardest lesson in leadership for me to accept over the years has been to accept that I could not help everyone to become a top performer. I could teach, train, coach, motivate, but in some cases, we must finally admit that we made an unwise selection choice.
Years ago I had inherited a full-time Assistant Pastor that was a definite under-achiever. There is no doubt but that he had the spiritual gifts, talent, and ability to succeed in this position. However, he simply was not performing well at all. He would often be at home when he should had been at work. So I was faced with a critical decision concerning him.
I was forced to ask each of the above questions, and determined that he possessed a Will issue rather than a Skill issue. We needed to move on in different directions, but as friends.
As leaders, we put faith in our people; we care deeply about those in our charge, and we definitely believe in their ability to grow and contribute. For these reasons, we can sometimes be tempted to help under-performers more than is wise. We think that by devoting extra attention to them we can lead them to succeed. However, while we are responsible to them, we aren’t responsible for them. Ultimately, only they can make the changes needed to bring their performance up to a satisfactory level.