25 Reasons Your Employees Aren’t Getting the Results You Want

If you are wondering why you aren’t getting the results you want from your employees, why they aren’t performing up to “standard”, do not fret anymore, my friend. I’m about to let you know why.

There are multiple possible factors that could be the cause. However, they are mostly summed up into 3 main categories. Something to do with:

  • You as the leader
  • The culture and environment
  • The employee

As a leader, if your employees aren’t performing as they should, the first person you should look at is yourself.

Remember, if your team isn’t performing up to par, it’s ultimately on you as the leader. Don’t look on how to blame, look toward the solution instead.

With that being said, here are 25 reasons why your employees aren’t getting results.

1. You aren’t setting clear expectations

One of the biggest reasons employees don’t perform or do great is because they don’t know what great looks like.

Often employees are put into a job and aren’t told what specifically is expected of them, what their most important tasks are, or what success looks like.

I know for me personally, it’s easy to make assumptions. I give instructions, and I assume that the other person thinks like me and knows what I mean when I say do X and Y.

However, I’ve learned that is definitely not the case!

Assumptions are a killer of productivity.

Make sure your expectations are clear and that your employees understand what you want them to do. Don’t assume they do, make sure. Ask.

The clearer your expectations are, the better work your employees can do.

2. The person is in the wrong seat (or it’s the wrong task for the person)

It could be that you have the person in the wrong seat. They just aren’t good for that position.

They may be a good person and work hard, but that seat is not for them. If that’s the case, the first step is to see if there is another seat (position) available that they would be a good fit for.

It could also be that it’s the wrong task for that person or position. If you ask a random person who does marketing to do your accounting, there’s a good chance they won’t do well in it.

You want to make sure the person is a good fit for the position and that the task is a good fit for the person/position.

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3. You don’t hold your team accountable

Sometimes in the name of “not micromanaging” people don’t lead or manage. They just give instructions and let people loose and never check in or anything.

Then, when the due date arrives or whatever it may be, they find out the task isn’t where or what it should be.

So they jump on it and take control or yell or whatever it may be. Then they may micromanage to get it done because they didn’t manage at all before.

Sometimes leaders’ mindsets are that these people are adults and they shouldn’t have to manage people or hold them accountable.

But that’s a false mentality as well.

Part of your job as the manager is to hold people accountable. That’s part of your job.

You set clear expectations, provide whatever support, resources, and training they need, and release them to do the job.

AND you check up on them and hold them accountable for what they should be doing. You make sure things are on track. You help them grow.

Checking in, giving feedback, holding people accountable, etc. in itself isn’t micromanaging, it’s doing your job.

4. You micromanage and try to control your employees

Poor/weak leaders many not trust their employees. They may be insecure or have an ego problem. They may have the wrong motive and be focused on themselves, what they can get out of their position, and their career.

They may try to control their employees because of that lack of trust. They think they know better or that their employees are inept, so they feel they must make them do what they need to do.

They are the types to create harmful bureaucratic policies, to make all decisions go through them, and make their employees do it a certain way – their way.

They hover over their employees looking for mistakes and making sure they do it “right”.

When you do that, it’s demotivating, demoralizing, and slows down work.

Don’t be that way.

5. Your employees are dependent on you to solve problems

If every time someone has a problem, they come to you to solve it, that’s an issue.

If that is happening, that’s because you allowed it to happen or made it happen.

When it’s dependent on you, not only are your employees not being critical thinkers, it slows everything down. You want to train your employees and help them learn how to solve problems on their own.

When you do that, problems and issues are solved faster, and more work can get done.

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6. You make all decisions go through you

Similarly, when you make all decisions go through you, you create a bottleneck.

People must wait to do anything because they are waiting on you. Don’t do that.

Some leaders sometimes do this because of a lack of trust in their employees. Some believe they must control everything or think they know better or are better, so they must be the ones to make all the decisions.  

Those are false mentalities.

If you don’t trust your employees, it’s on you as the leader, not them. Being in a leadership or management position doesn’t mean you know better or are better. It’s just a different position with different functions and tasks.

You want to release your team to make decisions within the realm of their position. Yes, set guidelines, give direction and training, but release your team to make decisions for their jobs.

Otherwise, the reason your employees aren’t producing is because they are probably waiting on you to make decisions. (And then there’s the demotivation, etc. that comes from that).

7. You provide inadequate feedback

This is related to the accountability one (#3).

If people aren’t being given feedback, whether good or “bad”, they don’t know if they are doing a good job or not. They don’t know how to grow or what to improve.

The “No news is good news” mentality is false. People want to know how they are doing (and to be praised when they do well).

Not only is a lack of feedback demotivating, but it also keeps your employees from improving and getting better.

8. Your employees are overloaded

The reason your employees aren’t getting the results you want could be that they are already overloaded with work and tasks.

This, of course, can happen for multiple reasons. Whatever the reason, if you just add on more tasks to someone who’s tasks are already full, not only can that create an overwhelmed feeling which in itself can slow someone down, there’s just not enough time to get it all done.

In that case, if you need the employee to do whatever task you need them to do, you need to decide what tasks on their plate they can scrape to the floor (or to someone else’s plate).

9. Your employees are burnt out

Similarly, if your employees have been overloaded for a long time (or it could be a mix of factors), they may just be burned out.

If they are burned out, they aren’t going to get the results they would have otherwise.

10. They have to rely on someone or something outside their control

It could be that they aren’t getting the results because of something outside their control. They may be waiting for someone else to do something or something else to happen, so it slows them down.

Yes, you want them to take ownership and see how they can work to make it happen (e.g. if one supplier is backlogged, find another supplier), but external factors do sometimes affect people’s results.

11. The bureaucracy is killer

If you have a lot of bureaucracy in your organization, that is almost guaranteed to slow down your employees and keep them from getting the results they could have otherwise.

When they must constantly jump through hoops or get 30 signatures and a smiley face stamp to make anything happen, results are going to suffer.

Policies should only be created that help improve productivity within that culture (and for legal and safety reasons, of course). It should never be used to control people (because of inept leadership or lack of trust) or as a passive-aggressive way to deal with people problems.

No policies should be set in stone. If it’s not helpful, remove it. If it needs to be adjusted, adjust it.

The less crap policies you have, the more productive your team can be.

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12. Employees don’t have the authority, opened doors, or resources they need

If an employee is assigned to do a project or task, but aren’t given the authority to make it happen, you can’t expect great results from that.

If the employee needs doors opened to make it happen, and they aren’t, it’s going to slow them down.

If they don’t have the resources they need to make it happen, they either won’t be able to do it or it will just be much slower.

These may seem like common sense, but it happens too often. Sometimes it’s just because we don’t think about it, or we just don’t take the time to make sure they have what they need.

13. The employee doesn’t have the knowhow

It could be that your employee just doesn’t know how to do it. And, depending on the culture in your organization, they may be afraid to say so.

At the same time, sometimes training isn’t provided. We assign someone to do something, but never teach them how.

This happens A LOT with managers. Someone is raised up to a manager position, but they are either given no training or inadequate training.

Many management (and even leadership) trainings lack quality leadership training.

14. Your organization’s culture is unhealthy

The culture in your organization can drastically affect the productivity of employees and the results you get.

When there’s a culture of fear and compliance, people will avoid making mistakes and speaking up. Instead of focusing on doing great work, their focus is on not making errors and to get through the day. They will avoid innovating and doing work where mistakes could happen.  

Sometimes the culture is full of gossip, a lack of discipline and accountability, and more.

The thing is, you as the leader create the environment of your organization (or for your team – though it still may be affected by the overall organizational culture).

You have a culture no matter what, so make sure it’s one you intentionally choose.

15. They don’t find purpose in their work

One of the main motivations we as humans is purpose. People want to do something meaningful that has purpose.

When you show the impact the person’s work has, when you can show how their work fits into the bigger picture, it can help motivate your employees.

However, when employees don’t see the purpose in what they do, it’s demotivating, and that can hurt results.

16. There’s a lack of recognition

This ties in with feedback, as recognition is a form of feedback.

People want praise. They want to be acknowledged when they do a job well done.

Acknowledge them. When you don’t, it’s demotivating, people feel unrecognized and that no one pays attention to what they do, and results can suffer.

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17. There are technology issues

Some people want to wait as long as they can before they spend money to upgrade technology or spend money on software that can improve productivity.

If your employees’ computers are from 2008 and running on Windows XP, that could be an issue. If it has to chug along for 10 minutes every time they put in a new excel formula, that could be a problem.

If you’re on the lowest internet tier and it takes forever to upload or download, that could be a problem.

Sometimes employees waste hours doing tasks that could take a few minutes with the right software.

Sometimes it’s not the employees but the software and equipment they are given to use.  

18. Employees may have situations going on outside of work

Life happens.

There may be a death of a loved one. Their marriage or relationship may be strained. Their child may be sick.

They may just be having a really bad day.

Sometimes things happen outside of work that affect our employees. Yes, we want them to perform at their best, but sometimes we can also show a little grace.

19. Your employees are distracted or disorganized

If there are a lot of distractions that happen (or they easily get distracted), that can hurt your employees’ productivity.

Sometimes it’s the environment itself. If you know that’s the case, you can work to overcome it.

They may have bad habits (such as constantly checking emails or the phone or they are disorganized). A little training and support may help them overcome those.

If you know what the distractions are, then you can work to fix it.

20. Your employees are disengaged/demotivated

It kind of goes without saying, if they are demotivated and disengaged, they are going to get less results. Many of the reasons we mentioned here, but it’s worth pointing out still.

If you notice your employees are disengaged, it’s worth finding out why and then working to solve it.

21. You hired poorly

It could be that you just hired poorly. The reason the person isn’t productive is because you hired the wrong person.

22. The team’s dysfunctional

If your team is dysfunctional – such as a lot of unhealthy conflict, their self-focused, no one works together, everyone is about themselves – that of course is going to affect the results you will get.

At the same time, it could be dysfunctional because everyone fears speaking up. If people fear speaking up, worse decisions will be made, employees will be less engaged, and less results will come from it.

If your team is dysfunctional, that, again, is on you as the leader, and you will need to work to fix it.  

23. You have poorly run meetings

This ties in with expectations. If you run your meetings poorly, whether 1 on 1s or group or team meetings, not only does that in itself demotive and kill productivity, it can also make it where no one knows who is supposed to do what.

If you end meetings without ever making decisions, or you end without deciding who is responsible for what by when, there’s a good chance not much will ever get done.

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24. There’s a lack of quality communication

A lack of communication can affect employees in multiple ways.

First, it helps build trust and great cultures. If there’s a lack of communication, then that hurts trust, the culture, and ultimately, your employees’ motivation and productivity.

Also, if you aren’t communicating effectively, people don’t have all the information they need to do their jobs and make decisions, which, again, affects productivity.

Not only that, when negative things are happening (or there’s the appearance of), when people are uncertain about their jobs or what’s going on, that can create fear. And, when people fear, that hurts their motivation and productivity.

When you don’t communicate, that just increases that fear. Not only that, a story will be told about what is happening – it just won’t be the truth. And, usually, the stories we come up with as humans are negative, not positive.

25. There’s poor leadership throughout the organization

If you have poor leadership throughout the organization, your organization and the results you get will suffer.

As mentioned earlier, too often managers are raised into management positions without leadership training.

Often people are good at a task (such as selling) and then raised as a sales manager with the thought that if they were good at one, they would be good at the other. That’s false!

Not only that, leadership training is often low quality (even from training companies), and that hurts – a lot.

When you have poor leadership in your organization, you get the poor culture, disengagement, and many of the issues we’ve talked about throughout this article.

If you want great results from your organization, you need great leaders throughout your organization.

Why aren’t you getting results?

Generally, it’s for 3 reasons: the leader, the employee, or the culture/environment.

And, ultimately, it all goes back to you the leader.

I hope this article helps you pinpoint why your employees may not be getting the results you want. Once you know the reason, then you can work to solve it.

Let me know if you have any questions or any suggestions.

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