6 Reasons Why Your Staff Fail

Today, I want to share with you the 6 reasons your staff fail at the job.  But before I get into that, I want to share with you a very relevant story about how a staple taught me why it’s so hard to find good help… ???

“Mitch, do you want me to make the staple straight or on an angle for this handout?”

I swear, one of my staff actually interrupted me while I was elbow deep into a complicated financial planning spreadsheet to ask me this question one day… For real.

I’m not proud of it, but my reaction was to snap at him… “I don’t care how you staple it Dave, c’mon!”

Clearly, something was WRONG… in a BIG way!

I sat there dumbfounded, wondering what was wrong with HIM that he couldn’t make this decision on his own.

I mean, if he needed me to make such a simple decision for him, how did he handle the big decisions when he was at an event and I wasn’t there?!?!?!

This thought terrified me.  I literally lost sleep over it.

Truth is… there was nothing wrong with him.  He was great and extremely capable.

It was MY fault.

I let things get to this point where my staff felt they needed me for EVERY. LITTLE. THING.

Unfortunately, it took me many weeks after that day when I snapped at Dave to come to this realization.

By then, Dave was no longer on my team, so I never even got to say sorry to him.

After that day, and over the years, I put a lot of thought into this particular issue and that tiny staple in the corner of that handout.

Over time, I put together a list of the reasons why my staff failed to get the job done. (So that I could make sure I was doing everything in my power to help them succeed).  Here’s that list…

Reason #1: You have unclear Standards, Roles & Responsibilities

If you haven’t clearly defined -in writing- for your staff…

  • What your standard operating procedures are
  • What your policies and procedures are
  • What the various roles in your organization are and who is assigned to each role, and
  • What the EXACT responsibilities are for each individual role

… then your staff are being set up for failure.

Reason #2: Lack of quality training and ongoing training

Time and time again I’ve seen companies that only focus their training on the actual entertainment they provide, but if you…

  • Haven’t trained your staff on how to deal with typical client situations
  • Haven’t trained your staff on how to manage group behavior
  • Haven’t trained your staff on how to troubleshoot typical situations
  • Haven’t mapped out exactly what to do when an atypical situation occurs
  • Haven’t clearly explained to your staff what problems they should try to solve on their own vs what problems they should call a manager for
  • Don’t have an ONGOING training program for your staff that goes beyond just their initial orientation

… then your staff are being set up for failure.

Reason #3: Inconsistent accountability

Telling your staff what the expectations are (during points #1 and #2 above) is one thing, but it isn’t enough.  If you…

  • Expect that saying things once is enough
  • Don’t have formal evaluation and coaching systems in place
  • Don’t apply the rules (and consequences) consistently
  • Don’t spot check your team’s work

… then your staff are being set up for failure.

Reason #4: Poor communication

If you’ve thought “No one cares as much as I do” or “It seems like people can never do anything right”… Think for a moment about if you…

  • Haven’t clearly communicated what success (or a job well done) looks like
  • Never hold team meetings to talk about BOTH the great things they’re doing and their areas of learning
  • Never hold 1-on-1 meetings with your staff to hear from them how they feel things are going
  • Don’t listen to your team as much as you expect them to listen to you
  • Don’t give your staff enough freedom to make choices (i.e. too much “do what I say”)
  • Don’t involve your staff in any of your company’s decision making

… then your staff are being set up for failure.

Reason #5: Lack of trust and leadership

If you find yourself…

  • Watching over your staff’s shoulders
  • Not supporting your staff in front of disgruntled clients (i.e. throwing them under the bus)
  • Trying to be friends with your staff
  • Not providing new staff with designated (and helpful) mentors
  • Not clearly articulating your short, medium and long-term vision for the company

… then your staff are being set up for failure.

Reason #6: Lack of resources

If you haven’t provided your team…

  • With the tools they need to get the job done
  • With high quality materials to work with
  • With access to support documentation and materials

… then your staff are being set up for failure.

– – –

Anything I’ve listed here is because at some point or another, I was guilty of every single one of these mistakes.  It was really hard to admit at the time, but once I did, it made a HUGE difference for me, my team and my business.

My challenge to you:

  • Find a quiet place
  • Give yourself 20 minutes to sit and reflect on each of these areas
  • Make two lists with regards to how you manage your team:  
    • (1) Things you are doing great right now.  
    • (2) Things you’d like to improve.
  • Then get to work on improving the items on list #2 and remind yourself every day to keep doing the amazing work you’re doing from list #1 🙂

Party on!!

p.s.   Dave… wherever you are… I’M SORRY! ?

p.p.s.  For the record, after I got my rage in check, I eventually told him to put the staple on an angle… what kind of monster would make it straight?!?!

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