Employee Performance Management Technique

This is an employee performance management technique that will enable you to understand if the person you are working with has both the ability and the desire to perform

Here's an employee performance management technique that will enable you to identify why a person doesn't perform a task and/or to the standard needed.

There is a myriad of reasons why people underperform. However, they generally fall into two categories. The first is a lack of desire. The second is a 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 (I did that when I first got out of school, and I'm not going back there!). This is the type of employee who looks for ways to shirk work and can be a pain in the neck to lead.

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 ability 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 frequently let my team down due to my lack of ability.

I can improve my standard as a rider, but it will come at a considerable cost. A cost to me 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.

Can Do, Will Do

Identify if You are Dealing With a Desire or Capability Issue

When someone is under-performing, you need to establish whether you have a capability ('Can't Do' but 'Want To') or a desire ('Can Do' but 'Won't do') issue. If you misidentify the type of employee performance problem you're dealing with you end up with more hassles and waste a lot of time.  You'll end up frustrated, and so too your employee.

The tool below helps you determine a person's performance level and the style of leadership you might use to help them to improve.

The first step is to list the tasks/outcomes you need of a particular team member then make an assessment using this scale:

Performance Management Technique: Identify Capability or Desire

Enable People To Work To Their Strengths

One of the best proactive employee performance management techniques is to use people's strengths.

Your team will perform at a higher level when you identify people's strengths and enable them to use them regularly. At the same time, identify their weaknesses; and put in systems/strategies that stop them from causing under-performance. Read more about tapping into people's strengths.


You must be clear on which type of issue you are facing. Because if you try to improve someone's performance level through enhancing their skill set when they don't want to do it ... you'll fail miserably. In the Execution Plan "Successful Feedback" you'll discover how to differentiate between a desire and an ability problem and how to capably deal with each.

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