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Turning Personality Conversations into Performance Conversations

Sean Lynch, September 19, 2016

Turning Personality Conversations into Performance Conversations

When people don’t perform to expectations, it can be frustrating. In our frustration, it can be tempting to attribute poor performance to personalities.

It’s because they are [they don’t] [they can’t] [they won’t] _____________!

If you find yourself talking about people and personalities, you’re probably not talking performance. You may be attributing poor performance to the wrong cause. The best organizations strive to set everyone up for success and create performance driven cultures.

Performance-driven cultures have these key attributes

  • Clearly defined roles. Write down job descriptions and make it clear what decisions individuals in different roles are responsible for. Create an organizational chart establishing reporting structure.
  • Clearly communicated and well understood performance expectations. Clearly communicate all performance expectations and standards, and ensure understanding. Don’t assume, or take for granted, anything!
  • Responsibility for results. Ensure team members have the tools, training, and information to work as autonomously as possible. Don’t expect or force people to carry out tasks the same way you would. Convey the desired results and any constraints on actions, and let them execute.
  • Accountability. Expecting accountability isn’t callous, vengeful, or personal. Holding someone accountable simply entails comparing his or her performance to the clearly communicated and well understood expectation and standard. Accountability then becomes an opportunity to help team members raise their performance and improve.

When performance suffers, it’s easy to focus on people’s personalities. While occasionally the person might be the problem, more often ambiguous roles, unclear expectations, and lack of accountability hamper performance. Create clarity and start talking performance.

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