Exceptional leaders with enough know how and persistence is capable of transforming a poor performance employee to a productive and even exceedingly thought of member of staff. By following these basic leadership steps and rules:


  • Weekly or biweekly meeting with each employee (including team meetings).
  • Identify weaknesses and strengths along with a positive constructive feedback on their overall quality of work.
  • Discuss company and departmental goals and encourage the employee to attain these goals.
  • Set realistic employee performance goals and set objectives with deadlines.
  • Open communication with the employee in regards to personal career goals and ambitions within the company and or department.


  • Offer valid and well reasoned comments about the employee’s work performance involving both negative and positive comments.
  • The comments must be specific and related to work performance only (personal feelings must not be considered in any comments).
  • Errors must be backed by evidence and not based on hearsay by another employee of equal level (unless the complaint comes directly by a consumer. If this is the case then the necessary action should be decided between the leader and management).
  • Good performance should be noted, emailed or verbally acknowledged.

Example of a poor constructive criticism by a leader:

“Jim, why didn’t you finish the quarterly report this month? You are always late and the excuses are not tolerated in my department.”

Example of a good constructive criticism by a leader:

“Jim, your quarterly report is critical part for our department and you always do a great job reflecting our sales. This time, the report is late, are there any issues I should be aware of and how could I help you to complete it on time for the next quarter?”


  • Schedule enhancing seminars based on the employee’s skills, weaknesses, departmental/company goals, and quality of work.
  • Organize monthly or biweekly departmental training based on level of work and skills.
  • Keep all employees up to par on the latest technologies and gadgets.
  • Train on current or new applications used widely by department / company.


{*Note the proper tools and resources depend on the job description and career of each employee. All employees need the vital tools and applications to get the job done accurately and on time according to the establishment’s standards and goals. Below is an example of an employee in an office corporate environment}

  • Observe and ask:
    • Does the employee have all the necessary books to complete the daily tasks satisfactorily?
    • Does the employee have all the necessary company applications to complete projects and daily tasks?
    • Do other company departments support employee on completing the daily tasks and or projects?

*If the answer is “No” in all or any of the above questions then the employee will most likely fall short of departmental goals and work objectives.

  • Proper office supplies & machines:
    • This could be as simple as a pen and paper.
    • Up to date laptop / computer with sufficient memory and speed including company apps.
    • High-speed internet connection for internal and external communication.
    • Basic office machines at a reach such as copier, printer or multifunction machine.


  • Environment: Observe and Ask:
    • Too hot to work productively?
    • Too cold to work productively?
    • No windows or breaks to go outside?
    • Wall colors and overall appearance dull & depressing?
    • Any break room and or cafeteria to socialize and for lunch / snack breaks?
  • Ergonomics:

{An imperative factor in any working environment. To assist an employee to be efficient, productive and high quality; the employee must be comfortable in the environment working in.  Ergonomics is the study of comfortable, functionality, and user-friendly systems of the human factors in the workspace. The accurate ergonomic design is necessary to prevent repetitive strain injuries (RSI) such as on arms & wrists. Once again, below is an example of an employee in an office corporate environment}

  • Observe and ask:
    • The Employee has safe office furniture and adjusted to the height and level of the employee? (May lead to arm, wrist, hand, shoulder strains if the answer is “No”)
    • Easy-to-use interfaces to machines and equipment? (Constantly up and down walking over to machine(s) leads to knee strains if the answer is “No”)
    • The employee’s eye-level is with computer or laptop (or any other digital type viewing) or too high or too low of an eye-level? (Neck & shoulder strains if the answer is “Too low or high eye-level”)
    • Proper work space such as a cubicle? (If the answer is “No” and the employee is “squeezed in” then overall body strains and backaches)


  • Range and abilities

{The skills of an employee could be the down fall or success for the establishment and or department. For instance, hiring a DBA (Database Administrator) the work task of technical writing for 8 hours a day is not only the wrong skill set, on the contrary, leads to boredom and dissatisfaction by the employee or is incapable of completing the task accurately and with quality & speed.}

  • Observe and ask:
    • Hired the right employee for the team or department? (If the answer is “No” then check with other departments or teams that may benefit from the employee’s skills)
    • The employee’s qualification match or close to matching the job description of the department or team? (If the answer is “No” then forward application to HR or other department heads)
    • Years of experience of the employee meets the establishment’s factors and goals? (If too many years of experience, then a management position is appropriate otherwise, if less and the employee shows promise then be willing to offer extensive training to reach departmental/team goals.)
    • The employee is enthusiastic about working for the department or team? (If employee is disinterested, do not consider the applicant or the outcome will be discontent by the employee resulting in poor performance and turnover rate for the establishment.)
    • The employee under-qualified or over-qualified for the job description? (If the answer is “Yes” and the employee has value and enthusiasm consider either training the employee if under-qualified or “polishing” the employee if over-qualified for a possible management or executive position. In both cases, keep the employee on file for future job openings either with HR or department).


  • Recognition
    • Recognizing an employee for a job well-done motivates the employee to continue to work hard and exceed team or departmental goals.
  • Corporate Reward Design
    • Award-winning employee or team enhances the motivation and creativity as well as productivity, quality, speed and most importantly, overall customer satisfaction.
    • Creating a rewarding culture transforms everyday employees to friendly competition and high-level productivity in the working environment.

*The overall benefits and rewards is vast for establishments, employees / staff and consumers.

Consequently, if a leader or management position is about to either place an employee on probation or warning letter or even worse, thinking of terminating the employee; please read the overall basic leadership steps as listed above and ask the following: has the employee received proper training, coaching and feedback, had all the correct tools & resources, the right job fit and a good working environment to complete the daily tasks?


Written and By Hadel S. Ma’ayeh

©Copyright 2014






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