Sometimes you find that one of your employees just doesn’t want to be responsible. By this I mean a repeated inability to drive projects forward, through to completion. It’s a terrible feeling when someone comes into your office near a project deadline and says – “We’re not going to make it.” Or, “I’m not worried about the schedule. Nobody ever meets their schedule”. These kinds of pronouncement are just another way of giving up. At this point you can take over and drive it yourself. However, you can’t be personally responsible for everything, you’ll just drive yourself crazy. You need to be able to delegate something to your staff and know that it will get done.
The question is – how do you get someone to take on additional responsibility and reliably finish things? Well, first of all there has to be a desire on their part to do this. If you have someone on your team who likes to experiment, come up with some cool new ideas and then turn over the job of finishing it to someone else – you have the wrong person. If that person is good at coming up with ideas that are useful for the business, you need to nurture that. If they are someone that just wants to play and what they are interested in isn’t business relevant it is time to have a long conversation about their place in the organization. They might be a great person to have: in another company or another department where they can follow their passion. Having the expectation they will be a finisher will only end in disappointment for both of you.
If the person you are dealing with genuinely wants to drive projects to completion but hasn’t be successful you need to determine why. They might not have the tools to do it successfully. They might need to improve on their attention to detail. They might need some help in project management and estimation. They might need to learn how to identify when a situation is spiraling out of control and to ask for resources before it becomes a problem. They might just need encouragement or a good old fashioned kick in the pants to get them started. You also have to be careful and make sure that the reason they aren’t able to finish isn’t because your expectations of what can be accomplished are unreasonable. Take a look at yourself and your demands first. Second, figure out how best to motivate and coach your employee. All advice tells employees to modify their style to suit their manager’s in order to get ahead. Here is the time where you need to modify your coaching style to suit how your employee learns best.