A leader is only as good as his team and getting his team motivated enough to perform their best is one of the primary responsibilities of a leader. However, there are times when your team is just not cutting it and falls short even on some of your basic expectations. When you realize that your team is not competent enough, you need to be extra creative with your approach. Here are a few ways you can work towards managing an incompetent team.

Incentivize Performance

This is the oldest trick in the book. One of the easiest way to deal with incompetent employees is to monetize performance by putting a price tag on targets. The ‘carrot-stick’ approach might seem too obvious but it actually does work by instilling a sense of competition and camaraderie among the team members. Making your team work towards a particular task and luring them to deliver their best with a reward motivates them to push themselves more than they otherwise would. Also, a reward doesn’t have to a monetary incentive. It could be allowing them flexible work hours or work-from-home options once a week.

Utilize Annoyance to your Advantage

Even the most incompetent employees have skill sets that can be utilized to the organization’s benefit. Managers are increasingly learning that utilizing talents and skills of even the most annoying employees is a smart way of converting a problem into a rewarding solution. If a team member loves to gossip, you can turn things around by making that employee your eyes and ears on the floor, reporting the latest happenings to use it to your advantage. Similarly, employees who are great at speaking might find their calling in a more customer facing role where frequent interaction is needed.

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Set an Example

Another great way to motivate your team is to lead by example. If you want your employees to do something, show them how it is done by doing it yourself. If you only keep setting expectations without applying the same to yourself, they will look at you as someone who preaches but never practices. If you expect your team to come in by 9am, make sure you’re there by 8:45am. If this doesn’t work and you see an employee frequently slacking and not meeting expectations, keep a log of their shortfalls. There will come a time when you have to confront this employee and you better have your facts in place.

Let HR take over in Delicate Situations

If you are in smaller firm, it might be easier to tackle difficult employees. But in a larger organization, it is best to leave tricky situations to Human Resources. If you have a particularly difficult employee who refuses to heed your advice despite several attempts to address the situation, it is best that you get the concerned HR person involved and give them your side of the story along with the facts. Your colleagues from the HR department are trained to deal with difficult employees and by handing the situation over to HR, you can evade the liability of a future spat between you and the employee. Should things go out of hand, you wouldn’t want to be faced with a harassment or discrimination lawsuit.