Most people at work are good employees.  They do what’s expected most of the time.  They work hard, come to work every day and play well with others.  Some employees go above and beyond the normal expectations.  They arrive early, stay late and are nice to have around.  But then there are those few employees and occasionally good employees, when they do it wrong or not at all.

We have all asked ourselves at some point, “What’s going on?  Why can’t they just do what I asked them to do?”

Here in this series, we will highlight 13 reasons that can affect a person’s performance and provide some ideas on how to handle them when they arise.  Many managers feel that they are just not motivated, which leads to non-specific answers to the problem.  In contrast, knowing what the problems are changes the question from, “How do I motivate them?” to “How do I improve their performance?”  Understanding this concept leads to specific actions that can be taken.

They Think Their Way is Better

They may think your way will work, but their way is better.  More often, these types of situations are thought to be a resistance to change, but they are not.  From an employee’s point of view, if they think their way will work, why in the world would they see a reason to do it your way?  “Fill it out now?  I will have more time at the end of the day when I am not under the gun.”

An employee feels they are being innovative when they choose to do something different than what you have asked them to do.  That is fine if it works.  It can cause all kinds of problems when it doesn’t.  Most managers like people who are creative and innovative when things work, but they always fall back on, “Why can’t they just follow instructions?” when they don’t.

What can you do?

  • When planning a project or task ask employees for their ideas and opinions about how it should be done.  If they think there is a better way, they will tell you.  A good question to ask would be, “Can you think of any reason why you would want to do this project differently than what we discussed?”  Remember: Telling is not enough.
  • Don’t make the mistake of letting somebody do something wrong to prove a point, especially if there is a high cost to correct the mistake.  People will learn by experience and keep doing things wrong until they discover a better way.
  • Finally, if everything else fails, then ask them what they need to know in order for them to be convinced your way is better.

Learn more about handling employee problems.

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