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I handle a buddy and it is not going properly — Ask a Supervisor

A reader asks:

Late final yr, when my firm had some turnover and we wanted a excessive performer in immediately, I weighed the professionals and cons and employed a buddy, “Mike,” who I had beforehand managed. The advantages to the enterprise (on the time) outweighed the chance of jeopardizing our friendship.

My problem now’s that he appears to have extremely low confidence when he isn’t in a well-known setting and has turn into self-deprecating and in want of fixed reassurance, and he’s not the excessive performer I assumed I used to be getting.

That’s wonderful, and studying new expertise could be robust, however sooner or later I would like him to only carry out. I additionally fear I’m approaching this extra as a buddy (“don’t fear, you’ll get there and I’m right here to help you”) moderately than a boss (“I perceive you’re struggling and I’m right here to help you to a sure level, but it surely’s additionally on you to make some modifications”). What’s the proper method to assist an worker who has the talents however struggles with self worth?

I can also’t be his sounding board for his emotions anymore and I don’t know learn how to talk about that. For instance, yesterday he made a reasonably brutal error and a consumer may have seen one thing they shouldn’t have on a reside display share. They didn’t, so far as I do know, so it’s lots simpler to mitigate, however clearly this is a matter.

I dealt with it the best way I might with some other worker — “that shouldn’t have occurred, we’re fortunate the consumer didn’t see it, and I wish to know what steps you’re taking to make sure it’s by no means occurring once more.” However this morning he has been texting me issues like, “I don’t wish to come to work, I’m dreading it.” It doesn’t really feel like a good place to place me, as the one that delivered the a lot deserved criticism, but in addition I’ll personal the truth that I’ve put myself right here, by hiring him and failing at this boundary.

I’ve let it go however he’ll mope about it for days — and I don’t know learn how to deal with his emotional self-deprecation (I feel as a result of we’re associates, I hear extra of his inside monologue than I might in any other case).

How do I set agency boundaries? And the way do I let him know that texting me that he’s “dreading work” the morning after I’ve a disciplinary dialog with him is inappropriate? Or do I say something in any respect?

I reply this query over at Inc. at this time, the place I’m revisiting letters which have been buried within the archives right here from years in the past (and generally updating/increasing my solutions to them). You can learn it right here.

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