Stupid Is As Stupid Does – Research on Poor Performers

OK — Poor performers aren’t really stupid in the true sense.  But it does make for a catchy title. 

Harvard Business Review released an article about the mindset of poor performers.  From an academic standpoint, research shows that poor performers tend to overestimate how fabulous they are.  

That is so simple.  Man, I feel stupid to have not looked at the mindset of poor performers in an altruistic light.  In a lot of cases some poor performers may simply be hardwired in perceiving themselves as great performers.  Could that be a medical thing, a learned trait, an ego issue? Who knows, but compelling findings. 

As an HR pro, any time a manager comes to me with a corrective coaching issue I ask them, “are they aware of the issue”?  Some say yes, some say no, and usually I am just happy  the manager wants to let them know even if through “formal” coaching.  

But what about the manager who wants to fire someone with no warning?  Who had no conversations with the employee about a continuous behavior/skill problem but is simply to fed up to deal with it.  Who when asked “did you discuss the issue with your employee” states “yes!  Too many times to count!”.  Whom, upon further investigation actually did not discuss with the employee in any clear way. Aren’t they poor performers too by shunning their managerial duties?  Could they also fit in this research group who believes they are more competent than they really are?

And the cycle continues.  

HR pros may want to look at coaching all of these individuals from the mindset  some may simply be hardwired differently.  That most people want to do well but may need a little more attention. For our job is to help correct and improve when is reasonable.  Isn’t that why we got into this gig?



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Dawn Hrdlica-Burke

VP People & Culture/ Talent Consulting at Kinetix. Advisor. Speaker. Writer.

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