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my worker complains he is overwhelmed whereas {golfing} mid-day — Ask a Supervisor

A reader writes:

My worker, “Jim,” has been within the workforce for about 2.5 years and with my firm for 1.5 years. After working with him carefully for that point, I’d fee his work ethic as 5/10 (it’s not a priority, however he’s not impressing). Nevertheless, he appears to imagine that his work ethic and workload are increased than common. In his first annual overview, he listed restricted time and heavy workload as an impediment to his success. After I took a more in-depth look, I noticed that he averaged 38 hours/week (40+ hours/week is typical for our firm). A number of weeks after that overview, he posted in a company-wide Slack channel that he had simply pulled into the golf course on Wednesday at 4 pm.

The newest instance was once I was working with Jim and one other director on a mission. I offered suggestions to Jim at 4:15 pm and didn’t get a response. Then different director chimed in with a number of questions on a special mission and didn’t get a response. At 5:15 pm, Jim responded, “Sorry I used to be on a stroll” after which in response to one of many questions mentioned, “I had deliberate to, I simply had different stuff come up at this time. I’m struggling maintaining proper now.”

Our tradition does prioritize flexibility and in most conditions, I wouldn’t be involved about an worker logging off for a stroll at 4:15 pm (our typical hours are 8-5). Nevertheless, it rubs me the unsuitable manner when Jim additionally says he’s struggling to maintain up.

Is there a manner for me to have a dialog with Jim about optics and the way these forms of feedback in succession are perceived? I’m anxious that in my place as his supervisor, it’s going to sound like I’m telling him he can’t have a versatile schedule or ought to lie about his hours.

Is he struggling to maintain up? If he wasn’t continuously saying that he’s struggling, would you’ve considerations about his work?

I’m asking as a result of if he’s certainly struggling to maintain up — if his work isn’t getting finished as rapidly because it ought to and other people aren’t getting solutions from him quick sufficient — then this isn’t nearly optics.

Optics can be if he had been doing a very good job and staying on prime of the whole lot however nonetheless dropping feedback about {golfing} and walks to clarify why he hadn’t gotten again to somebody sooner. Or showily kicking again and studying {a magazine} whereas folks had been harried round him.

But when he’s actually not working with the tempo or high quality you’d prefer to see, then that is greater than optics: it’s him making unhealthy choices about his time administration whereas concurrently not getting his work finished That’s a efficiency subject. Optics would nonetheless be a bit of it, because it’s clearly horrible judgment to announce his mid-day golf journeys in that context. However it could be a smaller piece than the remaining.

If that’s the case, you need to sit down with him and say one thing like: “You’ve talked about just a few instances that you simply’re struggling to maintain up, and I’ve seen indicators of that too, like X and Y. I’m involved that you simply’re doing issues like {golfing} mid-day or leaving work to take a stroll when you’re behind on work and individuals are ready on solutions from you. We do have a versatile tradition, however that assumes you’re staying on prime of the whole lot. I’m involved to see you managing your time that manner if you’re already struggling.”

But when his work and responsiveness are literally nice, that’s a special state of affairs. In that case, I’d be most involved that his evaluation (“struggling”) doesn’t match up with yours, and I’d wish to dig into that. In order that’s a dialog extra like: “You’ve talked about just a few instances that you simply’re struggling to maintain up, so I wish to speak about what’s happening. From my perspective, your work is nice and also you’re staying on prime of the whole lot. Inform me how issues are feeling to you.” If from that dialog you understand he is struggling (for instance, feeling overwhelmed and stretched too skinny, even if you happen to don’t see it in his work product), it is smart to deliver up {the golfing}, and so forth. in that context.

In both of these conditions, it’s not likely optics. It’s that every one the items aren’t becoming collectively in a manner that is smart: his time administration decisions aren’t syncing up along with his commentary. One thing is happening, and digging into it ought to provide help to pinpoint no matter it’s.

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