Is everyone capable to do all types of work?  Can everyone be an Einstein or a Mozart or a Bill Gates?

Often we grow up telling our children they can be anything and do anything.  But then in adulthood, we soon realize we are not successful in everything. Then often if we cannot succeed we blame ourselves or we receive blame from a Manager - this is SOOOO  wrong.

Always remember, avoid looking at the person as not doing a good job.  Look at the person as being an a bad fit within that specific role, within that specific environment.
This fundamental principle is key to understanding and ensuring that both the manager and direct reports are happy and maximizing synergies, personal satisfaction and productivity.

If there is an HR issue, too often the first thing we want to look at fault is the employee.  THIS is not a best practice.  The best approach is to look (in sequence):
  • look at the organizational design structure, 
  • then the management systems in place, 
  • then the strategies (clarity and alignment), 
  • then the Project Manager or Manager (look in the mirror), 
  • then can look at the Employee

When looking at the PM/Employee, fully assess the role complexity and time span of the longest tasks required, then compare it to the PM/Employee in terms of how well these parameters fit with the role:
  • KSE (knowledge, skills, experience)
  • Preference of work (level they want to apply themselves, desire to do the work of that role)
  • Inhibitors (are there glaring things that prevent the person from working in that role)
  • IPC (information processing capability, what level of complexity can they work at, how well do they perform when work becomes ambiguous, abstract, uncertain, multiple events in random series, etc)
  Simple little reminders:
  • often we do not support the concept of hierarchy, yet we all want to be put in a role that we fit with and click with.  We must understand that there are natural hierarchies already established in every working environment. Within mature work environments, the hierarchies are openly communicated and compensation structure and accountability is also much more transparent (we all need to know what our role is and if it is a good fit and then we can all accept accountability to perform what is needed to get done).  This also can enable more self management and self actualization that is aligned between the person and the role.
  • often we see leaders as "good" and mangers as "bad".  However, the manager is so critical in order to get things done.  We often seem to live in a world where there are so many great ideas, concepts, ways to improve, everyone often can have opinions.  But where we tend to fall down is when we need to "get things done according to the planned scope, schedule, budget and quality."

A key take-away:  each job a person does, they must take full accountability whether or not they have the capability to do it.  If it is a "stretch goal" then formal support systems must be in place. 

So both Employees and Managers must confidently know what they like to do (preferences) and where their knowledge, skills, experiences (strengths) lie.  Far too often we do not know ourselves and then we put this job in the hands of managers to tell us the answers and to give us career judgements. Once we can be better at communicating this, there is a "win-win" since it will take much risk, stress and anxiety out of work that needs to be planned and executed.

A good article from the New Management Network to go through and ask yourself these types of questions and to help you better know yourself, or to help a PM or Manager get to better know a team member or direct report, is included at the link below: