The set-up-to-fail syndrome and how to reverse it

The “Set Up to Fail” Syndrome

It starts when employees fails at a task. The boss steps in with heightened supervision, which is interpreted as a lack of trust. They lose motivation to take action, and this withdrawal is taken as proof that they are poor performers.

Effects of this syndrome:


The emotional cost paid by the staff


The organisational cost associated with the company’s failure to get the best out of an employee

Tips to setting things right:


Recognise the existence of this syndrome


Managers to understand and accept the possibility that they may be contributing to a staff's underperformance


Have candid conversations to untangle this underlying unhealthy dynamics

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