Still additional question though – do you think that giving feedback on someone’s strengths & weaknesses is the right way to address this issue? What I mean is – if I know that that person can hardly improve it (it is not an action, but rather a personal characterstic which can be changed only with great difficulty, OR values of that person etc) I will not include this into the feedback. What are your thoughts on this?

Tomas

Hey Tomas…great question again!

Yes, I still think it is important to give that feedback.  It does not matter if it is a value, a personal characteristic, or a particular skill. 

First, you need to decide if the employee is not performing up to expectations…i.e., this characteristic or value is effecting their performance in the role.  Second, you need to decide if you NEED a higher level of performance than you are getting from that employee.   If you do not, then you take those related responsibilities out of the job, change the job description and increase the clarity around what you DO expect in that role. 

However, if you DO need that level of performance in the job and they cannot deliver it, for whatever reason, then you must have that discussion with them.  That feedback conversation then becomes the first step in documenting the weakness (or value difference) and managing them out of that job. 

Moving an employee out of a job they cannot do is better for both the employee and the company since not doing so will just become a source of frustration for them, and failure for the business.

Another key point here is to make feedback about an action and a result, not about the person.  This is true with values, characteristics and specific skills.  For example, I once had an employee who had a serious EGO issue and did not work in a collaborative way with other parts of the organization.  In order to maintain control and power, she would withhold certain information from other teams within our organization.  The impact was that is was causing great tension and animosity between the groups.  This effected our efficiency as well as our image with the customer. 

I discussed this with her in terms of information that was not being shared, and the impact it was having…the action (or lack thereof) and the result.  However, her need for control and power was something she could not manage.  She did not change this characteristic, and it became a very short process for moving her out of that job and improving the whole dynamic within our team, and the performance for the Customer.  Having the conversation enabled us to move the organization forward. 

An interesting side note in that example, the Customers saw this cause and effect long before it became evident to me.  That is another issue…about being able to get the information you need as a leader.  Will tackle that one in the next post.

Thanks for your question.  FYI…you may also want to look at my post on Managing Performance (http://www.scottneilson.com/?p=391).