Close this search box.

What To Do When A Key Employee Is Underperforming And Has Bad Attitude

Episode 28  

In this episode, Doug and Tim discuss ways to deal with underperforming employees and have a bad attitude.  

Tim and Doug point out the importance of ownership and opportunities to rule out problems like this within a team.  

In cases like this, the employer or the boss should identify the root cause of why the employee underperforms and is unhappy. One way to find out is to open up a conversation, clear out misunderstandings and address the concerns right away. Take ownership. Know their morning routines, look into the availability of the tools necessary in performing their job, take into consideration their personal problems, or review their KPI because they might not be the right person for the job.  

You should also examine the kind of leadership your company has. Poor leadership style oftentimes is the reason for low employee retention and satisfaction. Lack of motivation also plays a big role in why an employee underperforms and loses passion for his/her job.  

To address this, a clear road map should be presented to motivate them to perform well and achieve their goal, as a promotion. Also, engage them in activities where they can share their talents. By giving them opportunities like this, they will feel valued, and as a result, they will become more productive and satisfied in doing their job.  

In this episode you will learn:

  • How to improve employee retention, productivity, and satisfaction.
  • Importance of motivation in the workplace.
  • Giving value and consideration to the needs of our employees.
  • Importance of a good leadership style.
  • How opportunities and rewards within the company improve the performance of employees.
  • Importance of organizational chart, KPIs, and knowing who the person right for the job is.


Hungry for more?

Head over to our BONUS page for special access to some of the deeper tactics and techniques we’ve developed at The Powerful Man. 

Listen On:


Episode Transcript

Tim Matthews  0:02  

It’s doubtful that so many will be unhappy within your company or even want to leave your company if they feel like a valued player who has a voice and is respected and is in the right seat to play to their strengths. Who’s going to want to leave that company? Really?

Doug Holt  0:23  

Hello, everyone, and welcome to another episode of The Powerful Man show. I am your host, Doug Holt, with my co-host as always, Tim, “The Powerful Man” Matthews. Tim, how’s it going, brother?

Tim Matthews  0:37  

I’m great, thanks. How are you?

Doug Holt  0:40  

I’m doing well. I lost you there for a second…the wonders of technology, right? You’re all the way across the other side of the world, and here I am, yet we can still have conversations, which is unbelievable.

Tim Matthews  0:53  

And then we get annoyed whenever it cuts out. What is that about? Losing all that perspective on how far we’ve come and what’s going on.

Doug Holt  1:03  

Exactly. It’s amazing when you suddenly have expectations, which we talk about all the time. So Tim, today, I want to talk about a subject that will affect many of the men who listen to this, and some may not think it affects them, but I want you guys to still listen to it. And the topic is, or I’m going to throw on the table, what to do when a key employee is underperforming and has a bad attitude? So what do you do there? And so, for the men that aren’t business owners, I want you to think about yourself in the situation or what you would do with a management position. Because if you are an employee, you should be an intrapreneur within your business that you’re working in. So you can have a better status. But Tim, I’m going to throw this back to you. Because several of the guys that we work with go through the situation, you have a key employee that’s not meeting expectations, or you can feel that they’ve dropped off in the sense of mood a little bit. How would you handle that?

Tim Matthews  2:03  

Hmm. Awesome. It’s interesting because this is what I’m covered in the hot seat today for The Brotherhood guys. So are we going to assume that we’ve got the right person in the right seat here?

Doug Holt  2:17  

I mean, that could be the first thing to figure out, right? This the right person in the right seat, and what does that even mean, Tim?

Tim Matthews  2:24  

Okay, whenever I encounter a situation like this, the first thing I always like to do is take complete ownership. So, what we will do is we will look at the pert is the person in the right seat. So that means. Obviously, you get to have an organizational chart. If you guys don’t know what that is, your company’s structure with the different seats within the company that feeds into the company to achieve a certain outcome. So let’s assume you’ve got your company structure in place. And let’s assume we’ve identified this person’s particular seat. And we’ve identified the KPIs for that seat as well. One of the things that we have learned that is very valuable is also to have a personality test for that seat. So you get to know what the seat is? So the KPIs. What is the personality you want to be able to achieve those KPIs? And finally, who is the person? And the person fits into the personality and the KPIs? So let’s assume we’re aware of the KPIs. Let’s assume that we’re aware of the personality, and let’s assume that the person has the right personality, and he is in the right seat, yet he’s just underperforming. So what would I then do in that situation? Again, the first thing I like to do is take ownership. So the first thing I would do is look at whether or not he has the right tools. And that would have been identified earlier on, wouldn’t it because usually, there’s a training phase isn’t there with the guys within our company in any company. 

Within that training phase, you would make sure that they have the right tools and sign off on having the right tools. So again, let’s assume that they do have the right tools. That point then comes down to, in my opinion, ownership, and opportunity. What I mean by that is ownership from that person within their role. They know the KPI, and they’re in the right seat, they’ve got the right tools, they’ve signed off on the KPIs and said they could achieve them step on in it. So they’ve got ownership, then the opportunity would be there to see that if they hit their KPIs and hit them over some time, then there’s going to be more opportunity there for them. Whether that comes in the form of a bonus, whatever comes in the form of promotion, whether it comes in the form of the company achieving a bigger vision, they can either change job roles or promote whatever that looks like; there are many variables. So let’s assume that they have ownership and they’re not performing. Do you know the first thing I would do, Doug, after going through that major checklist? I would want to know how they’re operating their day. Because you said something key about them, the mood they’re in the right sit, and they’re not performing. You said something about mood. And one of the key things that we know and how we operate is very much about how you run your day. You either run your day, or you dare run. And I spoke to somebody a few weeks ago who runs the sales floor of one of the top names within the SaaS space. SaaS, I think I said that right. 

And also, in the marketing space, you’ve more than likely heard of him, but I’m going to put a bet on it that you’ve heard of him. And he said that when they’re looking to hire salespeople, he gets them to walk him through their current day. He wants to know if they’re meditating. He wants to know what the balance of life is. He wants to see what stability is like, within their life. I thought that was brilliant. Wow, when you’re hiring someone, you hear like hire for attitude, train for skill, and usually attitude or base it on that, hungry, they know, I’m not going to reel off but hire for attitude, train for skill, but looking at, actually, the stability in their life and how they conduct their day is key. And I think for me if we had someone underperforming, I want to know what that would look like for him. Because if he’s not doing these routines, he is not working out. He is not running his day. And that’s affecting his performance. Well, why is that? Is that because something’s going on in his family life, his personal life? Is it because he’s just losing passion for his doing? What’s going on? That it’s meaning that that guy is no longer leading in his own life and, as a result, performing within the company.

Doug Holt  7:34  

Well said, and how often, or how few times do you think, as business owners running around, do they take time to treat their staff and key people like people? Remembering that there are so many things that could be going on? And you’ve done this well. Tim, I’ve seen you do it, and people within the movement have either volunteered to help other men out or help the movement out. Or people who are paid employees have started with how do you run your day? How do you manage your day? What is your morning routine, and do you do a good job of starting at that point often, or at least you identify yourself to make sure you’re identifying that point. And often, that’s a big shift for these men. That’s a big shift in what’s going on for them. Because a lot of people, I think, and I been guilty of this in my early 20s is we forget, as we’re moving ahead, we’re going full steam head down, we’re digging it out, we’re grinding it out, whatever it may be, we forget that the people around us are just that they’re people. And they’re working for us to help build our dream. Right. And we forget that we may not know what’s going on in their lives, and they may not have the grit and the skill to be listening to a podcast like this to better themselves. They may be listening to bubblegum music as they commute to work or at the gym and not feeding their brain. So kudos to, first of all, the listeners for listening to this. That puts you in the top 1%. So Tim with this person, you talk to them, him or her. It’s a key individual. And you find out that they’ve been talking ill about the company. They haven’t always put the company’s best interest in mind. But they’re a little disgruntled. What then?

Tim Matthews  9:41  

Again, I always like to take ownership first. So I would ask that I’d look at the company culture, make sure it is clear? Have I clearly communicated how I live in that? Because the last thing I want to do is say, hey, you talking crap about the company. And then he says, “Well, you’re not living it.” So I want to make sure that my books are in order first. And let’s assume that they are. I would then approach this person and ask them their understanding of its culture and what we expect. And as soon as they share that, if they share it, and it’s on point, then again, I bring it back to how they’re running the day? I want to know what’s going, and I want to know what’s going on for them. If they’re depressed within the company, then because it’s something to do with the company or something to do with their personal lives. They’re using the company as a scapegoat and as an excuse. So I’d want to know the difference between those two unless assuming they’ve got the money routine, everything is good in their personal life, and they are using the company’s scapegoat and an excuse, at that point. And I’m going to use the example of The Powerful Man. Because, relevant, and what we do is all about living what we teach that point, I would then open a conversation of coming clean and addressing the fact that something had been brought to my attention, that they are not living up to their standards of what it means to be a member of The Powerful Man team. And I would then ask them again, what do you think it means to live up to those standards? And they’d tell me, assuming that we agree on what that means, and they were on point. 

I then share with them again that “Okay, well, I agree. Great point. I love what you’re saying, I love to see that you are living in the morning routines,” and so on. So why is it what’s going on that’s causing you to be unhappy here? Which point they may say I’m not ut. There’s something that isn’t there. There are two angles here; either the first angle is that the person who has shared with me that they’re talking rubbish about the company because it’s implausible they will do it in front of me. So the person that told me the first angle is that they’ve either misinterpreted it or the second angle. And the more likely angle is that they don’t feel like there is enough opportunity within the company. Now, if you’ve got this far, and they’re the right person in the right seat with the right personality, they’ve got the ownership they’ve performed in the past. Suddenly, they’re not performing, and everything’s on point in their personal life, and they’re unhappy. The likelihood is, they don’t feel like they have the right opportunity within the company. And that could either be the company isn’t progressing in the way they think it should be. That could either be they don’t feel like they’ve got a real clear track for growth within the company. They don’t feel that they can express their ideas enough within the company, they could feel there could even be an amazing ideas person, but they’ve just not been given an outlet to express it. So they feel like their creativity, and their brilliance have been suppressed. No one wants to feel like that, so naturally, they’re then going to start to get disgruntled and easily aware; rather than speak up, start then repel and push back. So there are always two angles for me, ownership and opportunity. We’ve discussed ownership, and this is my discussing the opportunity.

Doug Holt  13:51  

Well said, we can see why people want to work with The Powerful Man as a movement because of the things that you’re saying in there that I find so unusual, unfortunately. And of course, everybody, I’m sure listening to this is like, “Oh, yeah, I do that, or I know that.” But you execute on it. You’re looking at this from a personal perspective, and you’re looking at this one, you’re taking Extreme Ownership or ownership over the result that’s happening, what’s happening. And then you’re getting to the root of what’s happening, and you’re addressing it head-on. I think that’s extremely admirable. And when we go in, what many people probably don’t know is we go in, and we do business consulting. For a lot of the men and our companies, we’ve helped them grow their companies exponentially. And when we do that, we take this philosophy in with us that you’re talking about Tim. We see this time and time again, where people like, “Oh, my, I have a key employee, but he or she is underperforming,” and they need to work harder. They do not understand what’s going on, and it’s rarely about money, rarely writes about compensation, yet as business owners, we often lean-to that first. It’s often about those other issues you were mentioning. And it’s shocking and how fast you can move the needle when you address those. 

Hey, guys, I want to interrupt this episode because I want to talk to you about something important. We put together a case study on how almost 300 men have taken control of their lives, their four x in their business revenues, and they’re having more connected intimate sex, all without sacrificing their relationships or their health by using The Activation Method. Now, many of you have contacted us, and they want to know how they’re doing it. We put together this short 11-minute case study just for you. So you can see how these entrepreneurs are achieving this level of success. To get this case study, all you have to do is go over to ThePowerfulMan.com/bonus. And you can get the case study right now. All right, it’s only 11 minutes, and it’s going to show you exactly how these men have done it. Alright, let’s get back to the episode.

Tim Matthews  16:08  

We’ve seen it where guys are just then hired new people. It’s not about the people all there’s one consistent thing that right? Exactly, it’s about the leadership, the leadership style. More importantly, once you get the structure in place and then work the structure, it’s about work in the structure. It’s improbable somebody is going to be unhappy within your company, or even want to leave your company if they feel like a valued player who has a voice and is respected, and also is in the right seat they’re playing to their strengths, who’s going to want to leave that company? The only way they’re going to leave that company to start on their own, which really, it was ever going to do that either if they feel so bought in. And if they feel, and one of the philosophies that we have is that everybody wins. We want to know what the vision is? For all of our employees, what their next 12 months look like? And how much money does it require for them to live that lifestyle? How many hours did they get to work? And we then integrate that and back it up into the vision for the company. So that they can win, it’s not an arbitrary number. And I’ve had guys that have come to us and said yes, 3000 a month, it’s like, “Why?” Well, I don’t want somebody working in the company that just is guessing at what it is they want to achieve or receive, because what kind of energy is that going to then inject into their work every day? 

Imagine, conversely, if they said, Well, my number every month is 4,329. And that means that I’m able to go on these holidays with my family. And really, I’d want to be working between these number of hours from anywhere in the world. And that means I’m able to do these things. Your best salary will be 2000 a month, and if we hit this, it can get you to this bonus, which gives you 4000 a month, I can’t remember the exact number started with now. But if you achieve this point, you’re there. Imagine that roadmap, how excited they’re going to be? There’s a great example of this I love, and it’s by Tony Hsieh of Zappos. And he loves to surf, and his offices are on the beach overlooking the sea. And when the surf is up, his employees who love to surf are allowed to go out and surf whenever they want. The only stipulation here is that they get the job done. Now, he doesn’t care whether they get the job done in two hours or 10 hours, if that means they’re able to go out and surf, but they come back in and do the job that day. That’s always bothered about retention, it’s super high productivity, and the company is high. Profitability is high.  

Satisfaction is high. Because people are allowed to be who they naturally want to be. They feel seen; they feel heard. They’re getting what they want. They’re part of a great culture. They’re part of a great company. And it’s a similar philosophy to what we have, so everybody wins. Now, you compare the roadmap for people to see how they can achieve that and live the lifestyle and desire, but it’s up to them. There’s no bull, and then it’s up to them to create that and achieve it. Now, the ball is in their car, and we can do what we can do to create the opening there, then get to work on it and step through it.

Doug Holt  19:54  

Love it. Stage advice is always my friend. So Tim, let’s wrap this conversation. Up into a nice bow. You know me, I’m always looking for two to three take-home points or action steps that the men can take right away after listening to this because, guys, again, I’m going to, you’re hearing me say this all the time is, when you’re in the moment of insight or something new take action right away, don’t just digest content, like this podcast over and over again, means great, but it borders on the line of educational masturbation, right? You’re just constantly listening to audio and audio, but you’re not taking action. So I want you to take action. And as such, Tim, what are two to three action steps the man can take right now?

Tim Matthews  20:43  

So I’m going to assume that you own your company and have at least an assistant alongside you. I was hoping you could call this person right now when she is on the podcast. And if you don’t have an organization chart, share with them exactly what it is that you’ve learned here. Hey, what’s our organization chart? If you don’t have one? Can you find out what one is? Give me some examples. Let’s get it done. What are the KPIs that we have within the company? Don’t we have any? Yes, we do. Are those KPIs the right KPIs for those seats from the organization chart? And finally, what are the personalities that we want in each of those seats? That’s foundational to all of this, and you gotta have that in place before you can’t even get into any of the leadership dynamics of ownership and opportunity. Because without that, you’re just going to plug people into the company, hoping that they’ll perform without any direction. And without any accountability on how others are performing, so everybody’s going to be. Everybody’s going to be blindfolded and handicapped. You and a business owner, with your profitability and with your service levels, and probably your staff retention, will be very low as well, without having those things in place. Do you get them in place overnight? Need up? Can you get them in place quickly? Yes, he can. Just in the podcast and do whatever you get to do either record a voice knock, call somebody, whatever it is, do what you get to do to get your organization chat going, your KPIs going, and then your personalities on the move to

Doug Holt  22:23  

Awesome, awesome guys. Well, you have your take-home points right there, your marching orders. And gentlemen, we’re always talking to you guys about building your tribe. So make sure you’re sharing rating and reviewing this podcast with other men so they can join in the conversation. Until next time, that’s it for Tim and me, have an amazing day, and remember to take some action.