Many things can happen, either on or off the job, to cause an excellent employee to drop suddenly in personal productivity. In dramatic situations of this nature (when the cause might be highly personal), the supervisor may wish to give the employee a few days to bounce back without interference. But if too much time passes with no improvement, the supervisor should try to discover the cause and take immediate steps to bring productivity back to the previous level. Hoping that time will take care of the problem can be wishful thinking. Take the case of Bernie, for example.

For the past week, Bernie had been producing far beneath his potential as a home-appliance repairman. Most of his co-workers averaged thirty-two house ...

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