News > Three Questions to Ask Under-Performing Team Members

Three Questions to Ask Under-Performing Team Members

3 Questions to Ask-

Uncomfortable conversations are part of management.

But these exchanges don’t have to be hostile or a one-sided soliloquy leaving team members feeling demoralized or blind-sided.

Managers don’t have to be insulting or brutally frank when telling a team member that they are not making the grade when they make a mistake or fail to bring their A-game.

I have frequently heard of managers who consistently insult their employees or try to fix blame instead of fixing the problem.

There is a far more effective and compassionate way.

At Dasher, we often address shortcomings by asking three vital questions:

  1. Why did you make that decision?
  2. What were you feeling?
  3. What two emotions are you feeling right now?

Often, a team member will surprise us by answering, “I’m mad at myself and embarrassed.” This changes the whole tenor of the conversation. Their answers may not be what you expected.

Asking these types of questions helps you work through the head-butting.

Often, we recognize, with people who have lived through trauma, including poverty, incarceration, and abuse, their reaction is a “fight or flight” response. A team member who messes up on the job may suddenly leave work or not show up for days.

As managers, we should understand this panicked response and respond to it compassionately and immediately. Our approach is guided by the Entrepreneurial Operating System, or EOS® model, which we continue to customize and “Dasherize.’’

By asking our three essential questions, we can weave a response that fits the team members’ situation.

We give team members more time. If they are struggling in one part of their job, we ask: do they need education? Are they in the wrong position? Are there metrics that don’t speak to them? Do they see the vision?

Sometimes, a team member may minimize their contributions by saying, “I just sit and make calls all day.”  Our CEOs will underscore their importance: they are helping people. We need to re-frame their perspective.

We think everyone can learn and deserves our help.

While EOS® is not fundamentally warm and fuzzy, and is far more clinical.  We at Dasher use its tools with more than a dash of care and compassion.


Dasher is a data-driven, customer contact services operation with a focus on communicating complex messages to diverse populations. Specific capabilities include face-to-face communications provided by our field teams, customer engagement strategies provided by our call center and member engagement staff, and secure, complex, variable mailing services provided by our production team. Dasher is an experienced Minority, Women and Disadvantaged Business Enterprise (MWDBE) with a bestselling book, “The Talent Pool,” and is certified by AICPA with the SOC2SM Type2 data certification and validation.

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