Here's a performance management technique that will enable you to identify why a person doesn't perform the task required or to the standard needed.
There are a myriad of reasons why people under-perform. Most of these reasons could be placed under either the category of lack the Desire or lack of Capability.
Someone may have all the capability in the world but have limited or no desire to perform a particular task/role. For example, I can type at 100 wpm, but don't ask me to be a secretary (did that when I first got out of school). You would find yourself with an employee who would be constantly shirking work and generally being a pain in the neck.
Alternatively, some may have all the desire in the world, but have limited or no capability. I'd love to compete at the Olympics in dressage - but do not have the capability of a world-class dressage rider. So even though I'd be there front and center every day with my tail wagging like a puppy dog, I'd be continually letting my team down with may lack of ability. Certainly I have the capability to improve my standard as a rider, but it will come at a huge cost. A cost to me personally in terms of stress and a cost to the team in having to carry someone who isn't at the level required by the team.
The strengths movement is one of the most exciting developments in the past decade. Understanding people's strengths and ensuring they are used on a regular basis, while understanding their weaknesses and putting in systems/strategies that enable them to be worked around, will help your team to perform at a higher level. You can find out more about the strengths movement and Marcus Buckingham in particular.
When someone is under-performing you need to establish whether you have a capability (can't do/want to) or a desire (can do/won't do) issue, in order to effectively resolve the problem.
This quick activity is one tool you can use to assist you to estimate a person's performance level and the style of leadership you might use to help them to improve.
List the tasks/outcomes you require of a particular team member then make an assessment using this scale:
As you can see there will be no one right leadership style, it is entirely dependent upon the situation and the individual. Read more about situational leadership.
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