The Business Coach with Laura Murphy: “He’s consistently inconsistent”
Question: “I have an employee who, although good natured, is driving everyone mad because he’s so inconsistent. People are turning against him and it’s impacting on the business.” Peter.
Answer: “From what you’ve said you want to keep your employee on, despite the inconsistency and there’s some classic steps that any good manager should be taking.
Understand why he behaves as he does by having a confidential, supportive conversation. It could be that he doesn’t understand the tasks or is unable to manage the amount or variety of work that he’s being asked to do. So ensure that the requests being made of him are reasonable and manageable.
Perhaps he is unable to say ‘no’ when asked to do something so does nothing right. It might also be in his nature to “hop” from one thing to another and if that doesn’t match the working practices of the team, it can escalate the situation. Once you’re happy that you’ve bottomed out the real issues, model consistency by setting clear, timed, achievable goals for him with regular follow-ups to monitor progress. Ensure you have the correct support mechanisms in place to help him adjust his behaviour and work with the team members so they can positively reinforce the progress made.
You also question whether he has a learning difficulty. Not all learning difficulties are obvious so get specialist advice from the Disabled Employment Advisor at your local Job centre on how to deal with this sensitively.
It may well be though that, even with support, you have no option other than to fire him. In which case ensure you have independent advice as to the process to follow to protect your legal position.”
Laura is an organisation development specialist and executive coach with mtc2 ltd. To solve your problem email firstname.lastname@example.org Twitter @WayfinderWoman Names and details have been changed to protect confidentiality.