Trait Reviews Are Tough, But They Can Be Fruitful

Chapter 5 Pg’s 130-131 Lead With Love By: Gerry Czarnecki

A great deal can be gained from taking the time to talk to your associates about how their traits and behaviors affect job performance. The good news is most of the issues you are talking about influence job performance; the bad news is you may misjudge the situation and then have to argue with the associate. In addition, you are doing something that is not normally comfortable: telling people how you perceive them. You will be focusing on insights you have drawn from working with them. You will be talking about them and their behavior, not just their job performance. We think about people’s behavior all the time, but seldom do we tell them what we think. Yet results at work are almost always tied to behaviors. You may not be able to change associates’ behavior, but if they know what you have observed, they may conclude that they must attempt to deal with these issues.

 Incidentally, in the event you are challenged on the feedback you offer, here is a simple way to deal with an objection: acknowledge that you know you may be wrong, but that is why you are talking about it. You are trying to get a better understanding of her, so that you both can judge her ability to improve. Tell her you will spend some more time thinking about it. This acknowledges that you could be wrong without saying definitively that you are. Being right is not the issue. Giving the associate this information makes it possible for her to understand the perceptions that exist.

 The content of a “trait review” follows a simple structure, but it must always be part of a comprehensive review of the associate’s performance. Never do a trait review without tying it to a performance evaluation. The goal is to give associates an opportunity to see that their performance can be tied to their personal traits. Also never tell associates you are evaluating them on their personal traits. Performance evaluations should be based

on the associate’s achievement of results. But the trait review gives the associate an opportunity to correct issues that affect performance.

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