Ways a Strategic Employee Plan will Help you Manage a Situation!
I’ve met many managers who speculate that the people on their team know what to do to be successful. Just because they think it is easy themselves, they assume their employees are on the same page. I’ve also come across managers who will tell someone what they need but expect an employee to just figure it out without direction. I do understand that we always need someone on our team that can take the ball and run with an idea. When this happens, it’s like a godsend. This obviously takes very little effort on our part and we can use this energy on another tiring task that awaits. Unfortunately, that’s not always the reality. Some managers will become frustrated and take a task and give it to one of their “A” players. That’s not the right approach either. You have to address the issue instead of pushing it off to someone else. I would also caution you that you may be giving your “A” player too much to handle and you can cause burn out. Remember, “A” players aim to please so they typically won’t say no or let you know they have too much on their plate.
If you spend a little time with them to explain what you are looking for, you can realize their full potential. What is the right amount of time to spend with someone to determine if they are going to get it? That is a very tough question to answer. Everyone learns at different speeds and levels. In most work environments, things are moving at lightening speed so it’s important for people to keep up. As a leader of the department, you have to manage the pace and the output.
In order to know if someone is headed in the right direction and understands what needs to be done to succeed, have them put together a plan. My suggestion would be not to give them very much direction the first round. This is a great way to see where their head is at. Do they have the right thought process and skills to succeed? If they are working on a project, do they have the right frame of mind to complete the task successfully? It’s okay if they ask you questions. That, to me, tells me they care about doing a good job. If they don’t ask any questions and they provide you a plan that is subpar, I would be concerned. This is where you need to dive in.
Have your employee run through the plan with you so you can understand what is going through their heads. Maybe you are just not seeing it on paper. Again, giving them the benefit of doubt. This is a good point to start giving them direction, without taking over and writing their plan. They really need to write the plan themselves and own it. If it is your plan, they may not be committed. If it is their plan, you can feel good that they understand it. Important fact to discover at this point is do they know how to execute the plan.
They have written out their plan on paper and verbalized it to you. You have provided a few suggestions based on your experience. Now it is up to them to make it happen. Timelines should be established so you can check back to be sure they are progressing appropriately. Check in on them to see if they need any guidance. Based on their progress, you will need to determine if they will make it or not. One of the biggest mistakes a Manager can make, is to ignore the problem and keep an employee hanging our in the wind. If you determine that you need to make a change and this person will no longer be with the company, it should never be a surprise to them. Based on their plan and your follow-ups, they know exactly how they are doing. Lastly, always bring in your Human Resources Manager. They will help you through the process and make sure you are doing the right thing for the employee and for the company.