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training to be proactive

By searchy ·
A member of my team has been working extremely hard over the past few months, he is hard working, approachable and always has a good sense of humour. He has not been properly managed - he seems to have developed a purely reactive approach to everything he does.

I want to help him to become more proactive, e.g when relocating an employee from one department to another he will forsee problems with email, new printers, different file shares, different software required, different phone extension number. At the moment he just jumps in at the deep end and fixes whatever problems come up.

He also very rarely finishes a task completely because he doesn't put himself in the shoes of the end user so doesn't antipicate their problems. i.e. he may set up a piecs of software under the admin account without testing it with the users account.

This approach is part of his personality but is really effecting his productivity. I can't trust him to complete a task so constantly have to check up and have also had to resolve issues myself that he has not completed. The majority of IT personnel i've met have an analytical and methodical approach that they naturally apply to tasks such as the above.

Is there a general method to problem solving or that I can try to train him in? or is there any advice anyone can give to help me get the most from this employee?

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by jkaras In reply to Formal performance improv ...

In my opinion the documentation that you are talking about only facilitates termination to get your ducks in a row. If you want your employee to truly improve then dedicate ample time to train properly with a set standards of quality of work. Documentation only puts fear in the individual on the premise either shape up or ship out, trust is not established and sometimes the person worrys too much on failing that they dont perform adequately.

Sometimes I see people all wanting to be the boss but dont want the responsibility to have to work hard when making the decisions, that making the decisions are a bother. If you are management you get paid to handle this responsibility and no magic trick is going to simplify the issue or make it go away, that is why you get the extra bucks, not just techinical expertise. I definetly applaud the original poster in his desire to improve his employee, that is a rare person to find nowadays. In short, nobody can have an uber employee, just an employee that is stimulated the proper way to enhance better productivity, there is no cookie cutter method, just proper guidance and respect hands on than criticising from a distance. Make the investment personally not through documentation, just an opinion.

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Fuzzy management does not solve problems like this

by In reply to hmm....

I have to disagree.

"...the documentation...only facilitates termination to get your ducks in a row...". Sure, it does that. But, terminating people is part of a manager's job also (the most difficult and undesirable part). S/he (the manager) _should_ have his/her ducks in a row. If the employee is doing the job, there won't be a problem. What do you do if the employee is not doing the job well enough? You must communicate clearly what needs to change. You must be fair to the employee. You must put your thoughts in writing.

"...set standards of quality of work..." This must be done formally (in writing), not merely verbally, especially if the employee is already not "getting it" as in this case.

" is not established..." It all depends on how it is done. The employee may not like it much, and may not even agree, but s/he can trust a manager who is honestly critical of him/her. More importantly, the focus of the performance improvement plan is to help the employee improve. That will be clear if it is done correctly.

"...sometimes the person worrys too much on failing that they dont perform adequately..." If this happens because the boss is intimidating, then you have a point. If this happens because the employee is just not "getting it" and not "doing it", then this is not a valid point. It's the employee's job to do the work. If s/he can't do the job due to fear of failure, s/he shouldn't be there.


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by jkaras In reply to Fuzzy management does not ...

I do get your point of view, but I just disagree with the excuse that writting form solves all problems. In my opinion documentation only benefits the employer not the employee, there never is positive documentation, only negative. In today's world is if it written down somehow there is absolute validity, when not all documentation is completely factual or non biased yet it is accepted as so. What if a manager abuses his power and writes anything he wants and twists the facts to facilitate an agenda or to cover their butt? Counselings are done one on one in private and any words exchanged are not witnessed by others, so who's words get taken and whose gets dismissed? The employee cannot seek legal counsel because there was no witness and some sort of documentation from one point of view only is presented as fact to absolve liability.

Yes I agree that documentation is needed to weed out workers who refuse to do their work, but it is not used professionally in the intended sense in most cases. Today the American work force has zero trust in employer and employee because everyone is looking out for themselves, hiding behind the me factor. As a result our quality of work has gone down and documentation isnt helping. You can ruin someone's reputation over it and possibly hinder their possibility for success. Trust is established through a mutual investment in eachother, that's teamwork, not hiding behind a mantra of we are a team, but nobody wants to be apart of. I see things like a parent giving guidance to their child. Does a parent write everything down for record and continually punish? No there is give an take with a desire to improve the child, not well its just too much work, so I'll trade up. How about a sargent that cant effectively train a private, its the sargents job to prepare the individual with a never say no attitude that determines his fate. I know these are abstract examples but the overall message is that both decided like a manager to take on the responsibility to improve another through their experience, knowledge, and wisdom to make the other a more capable individual. Who you are today is a representation of the amount of concern people invested in you to be more, because they choose to accept that responsibility. The is regardless of talent or intelligence factors, everything can be learned and armed with proper guidance, the skys the limit pending on your determination. To lead is more than making decisions, its a responsibility and management is paid extra to make that happen, they promise to team lead, be respectful, be fair, and unfortunately most get drunk with power thinking that their position at work makes them un accountable or above reproach. If their employee fails, does the manager take any blame for not properly preparing the employee, that he/she isnt a reflection of the managers leadership skills?

Not all these scenarios turn out this way, its works both ways, and I conceed that point, but it isnt all that its made out to be is my point. What the workforce needs to get back on track in my opinion is the human factor, then the U.S. economy will flurish till then we will just flounder in mediocrity.

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Are any IT schools offering CPSE certs?

by Why Me Worry? In reply to training to be proactive

CPSE=Certified Psychic Systems Engineers?


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by jmgarvin In reply to Are any IT schools offeri ...

I hear the Madam Cleo School of IT is offering both the CPSE and CPSA certs. You have to have your P+ cert along with your CCPA (Certified Cleo Pychic Administrator)

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Start Slow.

by Synthetic In reply to training to be proactive

Before making a worse case out of this employee by going over board, consider a few options. One, considering the type of person and personality, is it possible that this person is just not in the best position? Sound like he is capable, and competent, has a good attitude, and a healthy work ethic. First, instead of trying to change this person, is there a position his temperament maybe better suited for? If not, before you hurt this persons feelings, or throughly dampen their positive attitude, consider some lesser alternatives, not just over blown step by step plans with performance enhancements and day metrics for analization and follow-up; there will always be time to move to that later if need be. Different people respond very differently to the same actions, this is also a part of management, not taking the same model to every situation. First, a checklist would be a good start. When migrating a user from one account/PC to another. Verify PST, ensure secondary software works without disk and under clients account, etc. Do not be to forceful, just make sure he understands there is a process, and nit needs to be applied each and ever time. Explain he is there to mitigate issues, and each time he is at a work station, he should not only look at the job at hand, but potential issues with both the current item, and any other issues that might be mitigated from the system at the present time. Train him to look beyond the current situation, without to much paper work, or spirit crushing over sight. Try this for a few weeks, and then adapt and make changes. If I know this type, which sounds very much like I have been, then you have the potential for a great employee; however, like me, a uber authoritive approach, might just back fire, and leave you both wanting. Again, there is always time to be more aggressive and assertive in your approach later.

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Not many answers

by DC_GUY In reply to training to be proactive

I've helped a lot of subordinates improve over the years but your question stumped me. How do you turn a reactive person into a proactive one? A lot of good suggestions were offered but not many really responded to this central question.

I think it's a basic personality trait. Probably difficult to change but not impossible. I'd still be interested in specifics on how to help someone with this.

IT departments have always been criticized for being reactive. It stands to reason that the people they attract would be reactive by nature. They would drive a proactive person nuts.

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by j.lupo In reply to Not many answers

I have seen this work where we did what Steve suggested. We developed personal improvement plans and goals. We cross-trained like crazy and did a lot of design/analysis sessions. Slowly these went down in number, because the person got the idea about seeing how things could happen before they happened.

One thing I have always encouraged in my developers is: if you see something that could be a problem, don't wait to fix it. If you aren't sure ASK, if you are sure fix it.

Now obviously, company policy and procedures have to be followed, but encouraging and rewarding people for proactive behavior motivates them to continue that behavior.

You know it reminds me of the commerical I have seen lately on TV. There is a sink with water running and everyone in the room keeps looking at it and making suggestions, but noone does anything. Then someone walks up and just turns it off.

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j.lupo has got it

by In reply to Ideas

Yes! You get have the concept.

In the end, it is up to the employee to "get it", "want it", and "do it", or not. Given the appropriate environment and encouragement, most employees will respond well to the kind of thing I suggested.

The main purpose of doing this in writing and being measurable and unambiguous is to be clear. The employee deserves a fair shake at getting it, wanting it, and doing it. It's the managers responsibility to communicate clearly. That is best be done in writing, especially when there already is a problem as in this case.

But, termination is the manager's job also (the worst part actually). How many managers have you seen over the years that don't terminate people who should be terminated, or when they do, they do it in all the wrong ways?

As a manager, you need to do the work to document what is needed and set unambiguous measurable goals with dates for achievement. After this, if the employee is not getting it, not wanting it, and not doing it, it is the manager's responsibility to send him on his way.


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Terminating Employees

by j.lupo In reply to j.lupo has got it

Yes it is the hardest and the scariest at times. I have been fortunate. I only had 2 occurances in 20 years of IT work where I had to terminate someone. The first person, the company wouldn't let me do it because they were afraid he would hurt me. He had some sort of issues, but I felt it was my job.

The second person was at a government job. The manager didn't want to do it, she wanted to transfer him to another department. I suggested the PIP (personal improvement plan), with the stipulation that if in 6 months he didn't improve, then we needed to terminate not transfer. She gave me the job. So, six months later after really trying to help turn this guy around I fired him. He wasn't happy, but he couldn't say "WHY?".

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