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Leading From Alignment Episode 78 – Show Notes

One of the more challenging responsibilities of a senior leader is dealing with their team’s performance. Especially when a member of that team is underperforming. Dealing with a staff member’s lack of good outcomes starts with you. Today’s pod will outline a practical pathway to addressing performance issues with your team.

Experience has proven that dealing with performance problems in the business world, though stressful, tend to be easier than dealing with those same problems in the church world.

So what’s a lead pastor to do? Stick his head in the sand and pretend performance issues (or attitudinal issues for that matter) don’t exist? Denial is not a good leadership strategy. Similarly, adopting an “off-with-their-heads approach” to underperforming teammates isn’t advisable either.

Here’s an approach to dealing with underperforming staff


What are the reasons the underperforming teammate is struggling? My first step is to self-analyze:

  • Was I clear with them about the outcomes I wanted?
  • Were those outcomes written down? (Especially with larger projects)
  • Did we agree on a reasonable deadline?
  • Did I ask them to do something they are ill-suited for?

Second step under analyze: Ask teammate the following questions:

  • What got in your way with this assignment(s)?
  • Are you clear on what was asked of you here?
  • Do you understand why this task/project matters?
  • Am I asking you to do something outside of your ability?

Before we bring corrective measures, it helps to analyze first.


Here are a few items to consider:

  • Give the staff member a clear explanation of the project and what you want.
  • Give the staff member a clear why.
  • Give the staff member clear boundaries.

Before we make personnel decisions, it helps to correct after we analyze.


In many cases, if we analyze and correct as outlined above, we’ll see better performance from our team. When that happens, celebrate

But what does a leader do when the performance continues to be less than stellar? What choices do you have?

  • Ignore it and hope it goes away on its own.
  • Deal with the performance problem head on.
  • If their performance continues to disappoint, then you could retain the staff member, but reassign them to a different role.
  • If you cannot reassign them, help them move on.


John Opalewski

Author John Opalewski

John Opalewski is a graduate of Oral Roberts University. He served as a pastor for fifteen years. He has worked in the business world for nearly two decades, serving in multiple leadership roles. John's experience as a leader in both the church and business arenas has made him a sought-after international speaker, coach and mentor.

More posts by John Opalewski

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