7The Courage to Give and Receive Feedback

There’s no coming to consciousness without pain.1

—Carl G. Jung

Shane is a leader known for turning poor performers into productive team members. After taking on a new role, he was given Beth. Beth is the kind of employee who toggles between meeting expectations and underperforming. Every time Shane thinks she is starting to turn a corner, he will get feedback from a peer or a customer that Beth has disappointed him or her again. Shane has isolated Beth from large tasks assigned to her role and has changed the scope and environment in which she operates so that he can mitigate her ineffectiveness and continue development efforts. But all of this has fallen short of any tangible results. Once highly effective at developing team members, Shane has begun to question his own abilities as a leader.

I asked Shane to tell me about how Beth came to his team. He shared with me that his boss, Craig, had asked him to take Beth on and attempt to rehabilitate her performance. Apparently, Craig had failed to get results with Beth and was hoping Shane would have a different outcome. Later, in a conversation with Craig, I asked him how Beth came to join his team. Craig said that his boss, the chief financial officer, had requested that he take Beth to his team because she had been struggling where she was. I decided to talk with Beth to better understand how it came to be that she was moved to three teams in four years.

According to Beth, she was not ...

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