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Sometimes poor performers perceive there to be more or better rewards for poor performance than there are for good performance. Poor performance, then, could be rewarded with outcomes deemed favorable to the poor performer.  

For instance, a poor performer may receive a lot of attention for her substandard efforts. If "attention getting" is something she desires, then she will continue to perform at substandard levels. Your investigation needs to uncover any perceived "benefits" the poor performer receives for her substandard efforts.

Other Questions to Ask

What perceived rewards might your poor performer get out of performing badly?


Does the poor performer receive prestige, status, peer acceptance, when he performs poorly?


Does the poor performer get "attention" he might desire by performing at substandard levels?


Does this person "get his way" or "get what he wants" when he performs badly?

Analyzing and Solving People Problems

Case in Point

Steve Rubeck was stocking shelves one afternoon in the local grocery store. He obviously enjoyed his work. As the store began to fill with shoppers Steve heard his name over the PA system: "Steve to register #3." Steve rolled his eyes in disgust. He hated working the register. He just wasn't comfortable with customer contact.

Grudgingly, Steve slowly made his way to the front of the store and register #3. He punched in his employee code to open the register and began checking out his first customer. After entering four items, Steve made and error which needed to be voided. He called out to his supervisor, "Bob, I have a void"

Bob came to register 3 and performed the void and Steve resumed checking out the customers who were now beginning to show some impatience. Seven items later Steve again made an error. "Oops," he said. "Bob, I've got another void."

This time the customers in line became to show their impatience. Bob, sensing trouble quickly voided the item and pushed Steve aside. "Go back to what you were doing, Steve. I'll work the register. " Steve happily went back to stocking the shelves.

In the case above Steve's supervisor actually "rewarded" Steve's poor performance by letting him go back to doing what he wanted to do in the first place!

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