My superstar direct went on maternity leave and her replacement is less than stellar.  We are 3 months into a 1 year term position & as we are in a very small (less than 1000 pop) town, our options to replace either the star or the newbie are pretty limited.

Here's the basic problem: she doesn't listen to me.  If I say "write this letter, show it to me before you print it out so I can approve it" Newbie brings me the letter printed on letterhead, apparently ready for signing.

Or, if I say "do this & check back", I never hear from her unless I go looking for it.

The secondary problem is she doesn't think.  We got an e-mail that said our internet service would be disruppted for the day.  She told an internal client that our power would be out, thus disrupting the internet service.  Duh?  Lights are on, therefore, power not cut.

Okay, enough stories.  Since I am stuck with this woman, what do I do now?  Podcasts, links or feedback would be most appreciated.  As I know she is a bad fit, do I spend the time on coaching, 1:1, feedback or make the best of it & try to do damage control?

Thanks so much for any insights.

tlhausmann's picture
Licensee BadgeTraining Badge

Hmmm. In your post there is no indication of how this person has responded to feedback at this point.

Since the new employee has only three months on the job it begs the question: Have you been doing one-on-ones?

I recommend starting with the one-on-ones. You will then build on a relationship making feedback much easier to deliver.

RickMeasham's picture

G'day ACAO162,

This isn't anywhere near a big problem, though you may need to step out of your comfort zone.

As TLHAUSMANN says, do your one-on-ones. Implement feedback. There's not many well-meaning people on the planet that will not at least attempt to respond to correcting feedback.

As for the power-cut thing .. people say the dumbest things without thinking. (This apocryphal story should give you a laugh if you haven't read it before)

If this person doesn't change after receiving correcting feedback (whether they try to change or don't change, the behaviour is what's important) then you need to fire them. If you're constantly having to chase things up, they you're doing their job as well as your own and firing them will save the company money.

Oh, and if there's 1000 people in town there's 998 that aren't you or the person you've currently hired. Doesn't sound like you need someone that understands rocket surgery.

Rick Measham

Read my blog: Geek Herding - Explorations in the art of leading IT professionals

12string's picture
Training Badge

I recently made a hire that looked and interviewed great, but didn't perform on the field.  After O3's and feedback, he wasn't anywhere where we needed him to be.  After 1 month I brought him in and gave him his last check.  He didn't say a word, I think he knew it was coming.

The guy we replaced him with (My 2nd choice from interviews was still available) has turned out amazingly. 



acao162's picture

- people do say dumb things.  This was just an example of the latest in a looooooong string of them, more to illustrate a point than a one off.

I appreciate the suggestions of O3s and feedback.  I was pretty sure that would be the advice & so we started them this week.  First one went well enough, especially when I told her that I used to do them with the old direct.  The reason I didn't start them with the new direct - laziness, pure and simple.  See where that got me?!?

There may be other people out there interested in the job but since it is now an 8 month term with no hope of renewal and my second choice is working in a neighbouring office.........well, choices are pretty limited.  If I just needed a person to copy, file and accept payments, it'd be easy to make a change.  Unfortunately, I need someone who can do accounting, basic HR stuff, customer service, keep a local government happy and a thousand other little jobs that require major organizational skills and good graces.  Well, my superstar is only on a maternity leave, so I've been keeping the relationship with her open & handed out a pretty sizable raise to entice her back to work.

Thanks for all the support - I want to be a great manager, not just an OK one.



acao162's picture

Ok, I wouldn't have believed it either, but my DR is actually performing worse since starting O3s.  I have done them faithfully for a full month, no feedback model yet as I'm trying to work through the Rolling out the Trinity.  I am not giving up on them, we actually have a relationship now, which is nice. 

But, in the last 2 days, I have found enough mistakes to actually need to unpost an entire month of transactions, the same month we started O3s.  The mistakes are things that she was strong in before.  Here are some examples:

I assigned her the task of making the corrections on paper & I will enter the changes.  I talked about how important it is to provide clear transaction descriptions & the impact of poor descriptions.  Then, I asked her to start with Item A.

I checked on her work & noted she started with Item S.  In fact, I'd put money on it that she did Item A last.  It was the most important & most time sensitive.  Good for her- it was all completed in about 2 hours - but not in the way it was requested.  So, now I have about 6 hours worth of changes to make, lucky me. 

Also, 2 cheque runs, that require my approval prior to being mailed have been sent out without my knowledge.  I am not signing these cheques just a last check over before they are issued, because of prior performance problems.

My questions:  Has anyone experienced this outcome before?  Should I move to positive feedback even though the O3s are so new, especially given the short nature of her term position?  (Knowing of course that I'd love to hand out a large helping of negative instead, but that would be ineffective, right?)

I have to meet with my boss today (our weekly meeting) to discuss this poor performer.  I'm so frustrated and I want to turn this DR around.  Am I at the point of beating a dead horse?  My boss thinks the ultimate problem is that she doesn't "think in the same way that we think."