When you take on any type of managerial role, or you are planning to become a part of a team that must work together to make progress on its projects, your ability to bring out the best in those that you work with is critical to your success.
Yet not everyone is going to work their hardest, and in some cases you may have a team member that is not putting in anywhere near their fair share of the work. Do not be surprised if companies ask you about this situation, so that they can have a better idea of what type of leader you will be.
It is quite likely they will ask you the question below directly.
Behavioral Interview Question: How would you handle a team member that was not pulling their weight? What would you say to them?
Start by showing you have great communication skills and are not afraid to address uncomfortable issues directly. Companies want to know that you are willing and able to talk to people that are not performing. Then, look for strategies that can motivate them to do better. Avoid any answers that make you appear overly bossy, and stick with answers that show you can be motivational and encouraging.
“If performance metrics showed that the individual was not performing up to standard, I would first ask them if there are any challenges they’re having that are affecting their work – for example, it may be that they are simply tired because of a personal issue at home, or they have forgotten how to use a software program and were too embarrassed to ask. These issues can be resolved quickly.
If nothing comes up, I’ll start by trying to identify issues myself while also helping them with the project. I would do some of their tasks with them, sharing in the responsibility, and make sure that they know how to move forward. When they work with me, I’ll also make sure that they know how valuable their contributions are, so that they feel responsible for the outcome.
If they still are unable to perform well, I’ll give them a visual performance metric to monitor. For example, I will send out a daily survey that reports on project completion and makes the data public. This gives them accountability, which is a great motivator. If all of these actions have failed, I’ll have one final talk with them, and if necessary we can discuss putting them in a different role better suited to their abilities.”
This may be a longer answer than you need to create, but it shows that you have a plan, you’re motivational and hopeful rather than bossy, and you are looking for strategies that bring out the best in them rather than strategies that force them into compliance. Those are the qualities of a great leader.