“7 ways to root out IT staff incompetence” on TechMetro Africa, May 8, 2020.
Search for the root cause
Managers should assume that all of their employees approach their job with positive intent, advises Alan Zucker, founding principal of IT training and advisory services firm Project Management Essentials. “Nobody goes to work thinking, ‘How am I going to screw-up today?’” he observes. “Accidents, mistakes, and errors are part of the natural cycle of creating anything.”
Irredeemably incompetent employees are distinct in that they simply don’t have the attitude, behaviors, or skills necessary to successfully perform their job, Zucker notes. “Therefore, many successful organizations hire for attitude, knowing that they can teach the skills,” he says. “If it is a skills gap, then provide them with training.”
Communicate clearly and effectively
If a staffer’s performance appears to indicate a new behavior problem, such as by failing at a simple or routine task, gently ask if he or she may be experiencing some form of personal difficulty. “Employees with a sick family member, financial stress, or other issues may exhibit a period of reduced work quality,” Zucker says. “Offer them help.”
Build a culture of competence
IT leaders should aim to create a trusting, collaborative environment. Most teams are packed with professional, well-educated, and intelligent people. “Creating a culture where these talented employees can work together to address complex problems is a skill that requires the adoption of different attitudes and behaviors,” Zucker says. “Agile software development practices have been so successful because they create an environment that unlocks the creative energy of teams.”