Hi there. I've never managed someone and now I have my first intern (who, btw, is working remotely due to the coronavirus).

I've assigned the intern two different writing projects with two different deadlines. He emailed to say that he will delay the first one because he does not have a particular source.

I'm not sure of how to respond. On the one hand, I know he could complete the project without the source he wants, I want to show him the importance of following a boss' directions and keeping to deadlines. On the other hand, unlike some projects, there would be absolutely no negative consequences to either my work or his if he switched the order of completing these projects.

I am a little annoyed he did not ask if he could switch the order of the projects and phrased his email as informing me that he would be late. I also appreciate that he informed me in advance that he would be late, rather than just turning something in late.

Based on the info about, what are some lessons he could learn from this? And more importantly, what are some lessons I can learn from this?

SETM22's picture

I don't see any reason why you couldn't give them feedback assuming you're doing feedback, of course.

You: Can I give you some feedback?

Intern: OK

You: When you don't ask to change your deadline and instead make a unilateral decision to do so, it can result in problems with other people's schedules and potentially put other aspects of this project in jeopardy. Can you do that differently next time?

It doesn't really matter that in THIS case it doesn't affect anything. Your goal is to affect future behavior.