What Happens When Your Top Performer Begins Slacking?

The plague of laziness can hit any professional, whether they’re feeling unmotivated or burned out. Slacking can lead to missed deadlines, shoddy work, and worst of all: it’s contagious. How do you proceed when it cripples your top performer? And how can you prevent it from spreading to your entire team?

Approach With Caution

When you have a valuable employee not giving their best work, it’s important to address the situation with care. Attacking a worker for subpar work will make them feel threatened and judged. It’s possible they have something going on – problematic workload, co-worker conflict, personal life issues. Sit down with this employee one on one to have this talk. Show them it hurts others when they don’t pull their weight, and ask if there’s something you can do to mediate this issue. Stay calm and empathetic and you’ll get to the bottom of the slacking crisis.

Delegate Efficiently

Some introspection can shed light on why workers may not be able to give a 100 percent effort at work. Mistakes made at a higher level can impact the team’s productivity. Review the root of the slacking and see if there’s anything you can do to delegate in a more effective way. If your top performer is struggling, maybe they’ve been assigned a task that’s not in their wheelhouse, and they need to team up with a more experienced professional to get it done. Make sure roles are assigned based on experience and abilities. Match their talents with those respective assignments. You want your staff to be able to shine, not struggle.


Ensure the lines of communication are clear. One of the quickest ways to lose progress and momentum is through miscommunication. When a team project is underway, reaffirm who oversees what, to guarantee that each employee is responsible for a different aspect of the project. This can also help you keep staff members accountable for their role, rather than punishing the entire team if you can’t pinpoint who made a mistake. Often slacking is perpetuated because workers and even supervisors are avoiding confrontation. Don’t be afraid to have tough conversations if it means better harmony in the workplace after the problem has been solved.

Provide Incentives

When all else fails, there’s no shame in providing opportunities that will inspire your best and brightest to buckle down. Providing incentives like prizes, rewards and additional opportunities can light a fire under your slacking staff members. Create a motivational contest that rewards the individual with the highest performance, or commend your hardest workers with a special event. Inspiring leaders show their employees a deep level of appreciation, from small compliments to fun team outings. Show your staff you care about them by helping them stay on track and keeping everyone motivated.

Looking to Learn More About Best Practices When it Comes to Managing Your Team?

Contact Job Store Staffing. We’ve got the resources you need to help your team succeed on every level, or bring in qualified new staff members to boost your productivity. To learn more, contact us today!

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