Turning Around Problem Performance in Five Questions or Less

Most leaders have encountered an underperforming employee or team member during their careers. The challenge for leaders and coworkers is that these “underperformers” affect not only their own tasks—they reduce team or organizational productivity; they drain energy from leaders; and they diminish the morale of peak performers.

A 2004 survey by a UK research group reported that underperformers consume 27 percent of a leader’s time and attention, drawing them away from other priorities. Leaders reported spending 13 percent of their time addressing underperformers and another 14 percent correcting errors and finishing incomplete work that was assigned to the underperformers. Cumulatively, that equates to about 60 days a year that many leaders devote to remediating underperformance. Most leaders would appreciate reclaiming this time to dedicate to other matters.