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Times are tough, and likely to be getting tougher for the foreseeable future, so having a high-performing team is crucial for your business. Yet, it seems, underperformance is on the rise, with Gallup’s 2022 State of the Workplace report showing just 21% of people feel engaged at work.

What are the top reasons for team underperformance, and what can be done to improve this lack of engagement?

Overall, of course, motivation is the overarching issue, but it’s the reasons for the presence, or absence, of motivation that are the key here.


  1. Communication

This really cannot be stressed enough, and yet lack of communication is the #1 reason for performance issues. As the old adage goes, “If you don’t know where you’re going, how can you expect to get there?”

Clear communication is critical. Everyone in the business should understand your vision, your strategy, their, and your, goals (BHAG, OMG…), how the company is performing, and believe that their views matter and are listened to – successful communication is bidirectional, not top-down.

If your business does not have clear, open, bi-directional communication, change it – fast!


  1. Delegation

One of the biggest issues with owner-managed businesses (and many large ones, too) is the leader who believes its quicker and easier to do things themself rather than delegating.

This not only demotivates the team who feel they’re not trusted to do the job but causes immense bottlenecks as the leader simply cannot get through the daily workload this way.

If it’s some months (or more) since the last time you gave a truly important task to somebody else, rather than doing it yourself, you’re the problem (and, apart from the motivational side, almost certainly find you’re not getting things done, although you’re busy all the time).

Put in place an OKR framework and an authority one, too, and start delegating today!


  1. Meetings

Upper management spend 50%, or more, of their time in meetings and 67% of employees say that meetings are taking up too much time and hindering their ability to be productive at work.

In fact, since the start of the pandemic, ‘Meetingitis” has got considerable worse – 70% of employees experienced a 70% increase in meetings since working from home was started.

And yet 71% of senior managers feel that [most] meetings are unproductive.

It’s time to change this and free up wasted time…

Impose a rule where only those people involved in the information sharing and decision making need to be in a meeting. Others who need to be informed can be on post-meeting notes circulated after the meeting (this should always be done anyway to ensure there are no differences in understanding what was decided).

And make the meetings that do happen count. Have an agenda, provide the necessary background information ahead of time so people can prepare, and have some specific ones for generating ideas and finding breakthroughs to challenges – not just meetings about operational issues.

Apply these rules to your own meeting schedule, too: attend only those which are essential for you, and where you’ll be involved in decision making. You’ll be pleased you did!


  1. Poor Fits

Almost every team has them – those people that don’t really fit in (at best) or seem to be actively working against the rest of the team (at worst).

Unfortunately, in far too many cases, nothing is done to change this due either to management believing the people in question will fit in better over time, or through a feeling of misplaced loyalty to them.

However, as this study showed around 91% of respondents to a research project felt that one of the top leadership development needs in their organisation was the ability to hold others to account effectively, and 82% felt they had limited to no ability to do so. Essentially, the team recognises the poor performers within their ranks and wants management to do something about it, and to do so quickly.

And removing them not only improves team morale and performance, but – handled properly – allows those people to find a more suitable environment for themselves, too (sometimes elsewhere in the same organisation, and sometimes in another business altogether).

How do you handle poor fits?


Ultimately, it really is about culture – if your business has a positive culture of open bi-directional communication and true accountability, discourages meetings except when absolutely necessary and takes care to have the right people in the team, motivation will be high, and people will be fully engaged.

Given stress at work is at an all time high with 44% of workers in the survey reporting feeling stress a lot at work the previous day, 60% feeling emotionally detached (not engaged) at work at 19% being miserable (actively disengaged), there’s plenty of room for improvement.

And the costs of not doing so are huge: Gallup estimates that low engagement costs the global economy US$7.8 trillion and accounts for 11% of GDP globally, while businesses with engaged workers are some 23% more profitable than the average.

How does your business measure up?



I work with successful owner-led businesses to enhance their growth, profitability, cash flow and business value.

If you’d like to have a conversation about your business, its culture and team dynamics, or any other business challenges or concerns, book a free 30-minute call with me here. I’d be delighted to talk with you.


#BusinessFitness #Accountability #Attitude #Culture #Growth #JobSatisfaction #Leadership #Loyalty #Management #Motivation #People #Productivity #TACK #Teams  


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