What Do I Do With Underperforming Team Members?



We were moving fairly quickly on our project. My team was easily hitting every milestone. I was even able to start working from home once a week. As a matter of fact, you couldn’t find a happier manager.

But happy times were about to end… or at least to be questioned. As weeks went on, I noticed how some of my team members were carrying more and more of the load. They were volunteering to take on more of the tasks that were not developing at the proper pace.

It seemed they were excited about the difference we were making. Unfortunately, a more targeted inquiry told another story.

It turned out that two members of my team were not completing their assigned tasks. No one on my team said a word. No one complained! Other team members picked up the slack, and we were still on track. However…

The atmosphere became more stressful. Because of our success, Corporate gave us bigger pieces of the overall project. But now we could not count on the two “slackers” to help with the additional work. These underperforming employees hardly finished their own work.

It was time to evaluate whether I had the right people on my team.

Here are questions a manager should ask in a situation like this:

What are your options?

Do these employees have the necessary skills?

Do these employees have temporary issues at home that affect their performance?

What has been your past experience with them not carrying their own weight?

Have you spoken to them to try and bring their focus back?

If you let them go, can you get an adequate replacement in a timely manner?

What is going to be the effect of adding a new person to the team?

Can you move them to another project in the company where they perform better?

Is there hope for these underperforming employees?

What would you do in this situation?