Had an interesting exchange on LinkedIn about my post Behavioral Assessments do Little to Change Work Behaviors.

Management as a Source of Reward and Punishment on the Job Create Learning teambuilding and leadership

Prior to assuming that “we have strong personalities” and removing (or abdicating) the accountability & authority of the direct manager to an external assessment several questions need to be answered.

  1. Is the manager – subordinate relationship proper? are they too close / too far?
  2. Do other people on this team have similar challenges?
  3. Does the person(s) know what work they are supposed to do?
  4. Is the behavior really that extreme? If so has the manager spoken to them?
  5. Does the person(s) know how to do the work? Are you sure? What evidence do you have?
  6. Does the person(s) know why the work should be done that way?
  7. Has the manager supplied sufficient feedback about the work and / or behaviors that are expected within the work?
  8. Are there obstacles that are beyond the persons control? Is one of these obstacles management OR a broken system that is causing frustration and negative behavior?

Once you go through those questions a next challenge may be…

Will having the person(s) complete some behavior assessment be a trust attracting or trust repelling action?

Then the manager (who is accountable for the work output) meets with the person(s) and clarifies the intention of using the assessment and why they felt this assessment will be helpful in the individual and team achieving the goals within their work.

The manager directly asks:
  • What was learned?
  • How do you intend to apply what you have learned to the department, team and work?
  • What broader lessons were learned that might benefit the department and company?
  • What support can I offer, as your manager, to help you put this new skilled-knowledge into practice?
  • What more training and development do you need?

Returning to the first 8 questions, to see if things have changed.

My guess is that the assessment can be skipped if the manager and person(s) just worked through the questions I phrased and let each other get back to work AND stopped trying to play psychologist.

What do you think?

How will the discussion alone change the work?

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