What to do when your poor performer thinks they are a star

We’ve either got one in our teams right now, we’ve had one in our teams before, we are one** or we’ve been one – the poor performer who thinks they’re a star.

The evidence is all around them: the declining or poor results, consistent poor feedback from multiple sources internally and externally.  And yet it’s never them.  They have stories rather than numbers.  They have excuses or reasons rather than outcomes.  They have vagueness rather than specifics. Typically, these folks fall into 2 categories: one who once confronted with the truth of the situation demonstrates a willingness to change; the other for whom denial isn’t just a river in Egypt. Regardless of which category, it’s vital to provide consistent opportunities for them to confront reality….and then to take appropriate action. The first group will use it as an opportunity to improve, and the Egyptian deep river lovers will probably use it as an opportunity to take themselves to a company where they believe their undiscovered and unrecognised talents will be better appreciated! What matters most is that your team sees you as their leader being consistent in your approach across the team.   Here are 3 ideas to help you to hold a mirror to your team members:

Go to client meetings with them

provide them with the opportunity to self-evaluate and provide coaching. Observe how they take ownership for action to improve and whether they execute on what they’ve said they would.

Focus on behaviour that can be measured and improved

 planning for meetings, execution of plans, ability to achieve meeting outcomes, less complaints or positive feedback from internal stakeholders, reduced sales cycles, improved conversion rates….

Gather confidential customer feedback

if customers a) know it’s confidential and b) it’s for professional development than performance management, you’re likely to uncover themes that if addressed can lead to big improvements. Never use this as an exercise to pit customers against sales people. It’s about consistent behaviours that are hindering success, that once identified can be changed.   Provide as many opportunities as possible to heighten your team’s awareness of what is and isn’t working, and help them to work through why.  Support them to become increasingly self-aware to eventually become their own best coaches.  Most of all, raise your own awareness as a sales leader.  Get real.  Stay connected to the truth.

**just make sure you’re not in denial!!

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