Hi Everyone,

I'd like to throw a little problem I have into the mix and get some feedback for those who know better...

We've got one employee who can get very upset fairly easily when she perceives something isn't going her way. She has made a few mistakes, but overall her work is excellent. The trouble is, a few of the mistakes have been picked up on by our MD (there are only a few of us) and he's let it be known that he's not impressed with her in the past.

The trouble is, now she thinks that the smallest thing he says means that she's getting it in the neck - the most recent example is the MD going to a project briefing instead of this employee (for entirely legitimate reasons). This has resulted in comments like 'I'm being sidelined', 'Obviously [MD] doesn't want me to progress' etc.

I'm not her direct line manager, but am one of 3 people reponsible for her devlopment and workload.

Any suggestions on how to deal with this, and encourage her to not take every little thing as a personal slight, would be gratefully received.



HRmgr's picture

The title of this post is "...dealing with unmotivated employees." I'd suggest that everyone is motivated by something. Just like the feedback model can be taken to the next level by taking into account what consequences mean something to an individual so too can you motivate someone by figuring out what they value. In this particular case, you could make use of the feedback model- "you know Anne, when you respond like that it leaves the impression that you aren't receptive to feedback and that you aren't interested in self-improvement, which are core values here" In parallel, make sure that her excellent work is being recognized... remember the feedback model works for positive and constructive/correcting comments. Good luck!

MikeK's picture

All I can suggest at this point is to first find out what motivators her. I do a short worksheet with my directs that has them rate 10 motivation factors from 1-10 so I know what they are most interested in and then I'm able to assist with making those things happen. Everyone wants different things and if you understand what they want, you can help deliver that.

It includes these (I'm missing one??):

High Wages
Promotion Opportunity
Tactful dicipline
Interesting Work
Good working conditions
Job Security
Being in on things
Supervisor Personal Loyalty
Appreciation of work done

Mark's picture
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It's a good question. Some thoughts:

1. Sit down and tell her she's good. Tell her she's overreacting to the recent "snub."

2. Go out of your way to give her positive feedback. More than normal.

3. When she does overdo a negative, give her feedback on that as well. Be clear that she is both good and wrong in this behavior. Be crystal clear that there are negative consequences to someone who overdoes it when stuff goes wrong.

4. When you get a chance, talk to the MD, and make a case for her. Show how there are far more positives than negatives.

5. Give it 3 months. It will get better.


nick_ross's picture

Excellent - Many thanks for all your input

I'll give these suggestions a try and see how things go.

I have a one: one with her on Thursday, so will raise things then.

Thanks again


nick_ross's picture

A quick update on my situation...

Some of the (excellent) work that the employee was doing finally came to the attention of the MD (not for lack of trying to get him to notice, btw).

He proceeded to mention to the employee in question that he'd heard she was doing really well, and that he was pleased to see she was back on track.

I subsequently had my one:one with her - quite amazing to see the difference in attitude and confidence - she's even starting to push me for more things to do to further impress the MD.

Moral of the story - even a small positive comment from the boss (that may seem like nothing) can be [i][u]really[/u][/i] motivating. Keep giving that feedback !

Mark's picture
Admin Role Badge


Thanks for the update. I think your recommendation to keep giving feedback is spot on. In this case, it's actually the LACK of feedback that is the problem, because your performer was left to draw a complete conclusion from only ONE piece of feedback, versus regular stuff.

Glad it's going better.