In the past few weeks, I've heard from several clients about their mediocre performers.
When you hire someone obviously bad, the path forward is simple. You cut the person loose as soon as you realize the problem. When you hire people who are great, the path forward is also simple. You pat them on the back, challenge them to do greater things, then sit back and watch them achieve even more.
But mediocre employees test the mettle of even the best managers. Dealing with mediocrity is a twisted path full of uncertainty and self-doubt for managers.
When you have mediocre performers, you try everything. You look at training, motivation, work environment, interactions with co-workers — everything. You look at yourself and wonder if you are being fair and managing them properly.