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58 Examples of Poor Performance

Poor performance is when an employee fails to meet the expectations for their role in a period of time. This is detected by setting performance-objectives for an employee that set clear expectations for their work and evaluating actual performance against these objectives. Poor performance can also be detected as nonconformance to the policies, processes, procedures and principles of an organization. The following are common examples of poor performance.
Avoids Accountability & Responsibility
Avoids Action Items
Avoids Work
Broke the Law
Bypassing Processes or Procedures
Claims Invalid Expenses
Client Dissatisfaction
Damages Reputation of Firm (e.g. inappropriate rants in social media)
Deception & Dishonesty
Defeatism & Sabotage
Destroys Value to Win Political Battles
Discriminates Against Others
Doesn't Contribute in Meetings
Endangers Health & Safety
Failure to Consult Stakeholders
Financial Mismanagement
Frequent Mistakes
Frequently Late
Frequently Wrong / Inaccurate
Goes Over Budget
High Turnaround Time (slow)
Hostile to Customers
Hostile to Management
Hostile to Projects / Strategy
Hostile to Stakeholders
Hostile to Team
Ideological / Political at Work
Ignoring Policy
Inappropriate Behavior (e.g. discussing personal life in front of customers)
Ineffective in Role
Intimidating Behavior
Lacks Required Skills & Abilities
Low Resilience (e.g. loses composure when stressed)
Low Work Quality
Low Work Throughput
Makes Decisions Beyond Authority
Misses Deadlines
Misuse of Technology
Misuse of Time (e.g. media consumption and shopping at work)
Neglect of Duty
Plays Political Games
Poor Attention to Detail
Poor Customer Service
Poor Response to Criticism
Refuses Required Training
Resistance to Change
Stakeholder Dissatisfaction
Unavailable During Work Hours
Unreasonable Waste of Resources
Workplace Bullying


In documenting poor performance, you require evidence such as direct observation. It is unreasonable to include rumors, gossip and unsubstantiated complaints. It is also unreasonable to include failures that are beyond an employee's control. For example, blaming a low level employee for the failure of a large project whereby any mistakes should have been managed by those with authority.

Performance Improvement Plan

A common approach to poor performance is to have an interview with the employee and investigate the root causes of the poor performance to identify solutions. This gets documented in a performance improvement plan that outlines performance expectations going forward.


In many cases, an employee is terminated if they fail to meet the objectives in their performance improvement plan. Where employees have violated the principles of a firm in some serious way it is common for them to be immediately terminated without a performance improvement plan. Guidelines for termination of employees differ by jurisdiction and firm.

Performance Management

This is the complete list of articles we have written about performance management.
Annual Review
Business Performance
Employee Feedback
Employee Goals
Goal Planning
Goal Setting
High Performance
Improvement Process
IT Performance
Low Performance
Measurable Goals
Performance Appraisals
Performance Issue
Performance Outcome
Performance Problems
Poor Performance
Quiet Quitting
Self Assessment
Team Performance
Work Improvement
Work Objectives
Work Outcome
Work Performance
Work Quality
More ...
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Performance Issue

A definition of performance issue with illustrative examples.

Performance Improvement

The common types of performance improvement.

Performance Improvement Plan

Complete examples of performance improvement plans.

Areas For Improvement

An overview of areas for improvement with specific examples.

Performance Review

An overview of performance reviews with examples and templates.

Performance Problems

An overview of performance problems with examples.

Low Performance

An overview of low employee performance with examples.

Employee Feedback

Useful examples of employee feedback.

Performance Management Process

An overview of the performance management process.

Performance Management

A comprehensive guide to performance management.

Professional Weaknesses

A list of common professional weaknesses.

Direct Report vs Indirect Report

The difference between a report and indirect report.

Work Quality Examples

An overview of work quality with examples.

Employee Issues

A list of common employee issues.

Management Strengths

A list of management strengths properly phrased in terms of contribution to an organization.


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