Why low performers can be your happiest employees

Last week I read a great study about why your company’s worst performers often also are your most happy employees. It seems like a paradox: the worse people perform, the happier they are. The study also showed that low performers were more likely to recommend their company as a great place to work than most other people in the organization.
I think it comes down to a manager’s lack of courage to confront bad performance. We tend to accept low performance for too long, sometimes we ignore it – or even worse, we rationalize it (I know they are not performing well, but at least they look busy, they have had a hard time recently, they have worked under tough circumstances, the market was not helping them, it will soon get better etc).
The problem is that if you don’t confront bad performance you lower the bar and the culture will slowly start to accept low standards. Having low performers in an organization is not great, but having low performers who are unaware of it is much worse.
Therefore my question is: Do you help people perform better or do you help them to feel better about performing bad?

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