Training Badge
Submitted by Condor on


I have a ten plus year web producer with our company and "knows it all" and let us within the department know that.  The person is a solid performer however, emotes in cubeville so others hear her and attacks people on email.  The person even challenged my role as department head in upward feedback, even though this was anonymous HR, my boss and I know it was this person.

HR did suggest to me she take an on line or similar course if available on proper corporate communications via email.

When I came in a year ago, I promoted her to a manager and gave her one direct to manage.  That person left the firm for relocation reasons though it was reported to me they were not happy reporting to this person.

As her review is coming up next week, I was planning to give her our web-based calendaring system to manage and see how she does, my boss think this is a good idea as well.  That said, the series indicated “behaviors” will be the judge of how well she manages this task and others.

As I do not trust this person, especially since she talks about me behind my back and via corporate communications I have mixed emotions about giving her “any” responsibilities.

Just general thoughts and input appreciated

acao162's picture

First of all, you promoted this person, so the first thing to do is to take responsibility for that choice.  You say you don't trust her.  Are you doing O3s?  Start if you are not.  If you can't trust this person, they don't belong in your organization.  If she is poisioning the environment, she doesn't belong.

Be firm.  Be clear. Get her out the door if she won't or can't change her behaviours.

jrosenau's picture

Based on what you've stated, I'd question your assessment of this person as a "Solid Performer" - performance includes things like retention. I think you are looking at a narrow set of performance indicators and need to broaden to include communication and interpersonal behavior.


RDHodgson's picture

John, are you suggesting that... aggregated behaviours... are performance?!




Condor's picture
Training Badge

Sorry  for the long pause.

I'd clarify "solid performer" having had time to reflect that she understands the culture and does her job well on a day to day basis.  I agree with your assessment as to a wider range of performance markers to judge behaviors which as Mike I think said, it is our best lever, everything else is just a guess.



Condor's picture
Training Badge

Sorry for the long pause.

I did and it is my ownership.. I have only in the past couple of months started one-on-one's thank you

She did send out a email bomb that wound up falling back in her lap and she has since seen the light.  Being the size of the corporation we are, getting anyone out the door would take months and a lot of paper trails showing on-going issues and then a PIP (performance improvement program) prior to any such move


mattpalmer's picture

If you *need* to get rid of someone, do the work to get rid of them.  Nobody said being a manager was an easy job.

That being said, I've recently had my ideas around firing people turned around by Ferdinand Fournies' "Coaching for Improved Work Performance" (book review pending).  The author makes the oft-overlooked observation that hiring someone new is a lot of time and effort (in addition to the effort involved in firing them), and if you were to expend the same amount of effort in improving the poor performance, you'd probably get far better results. Thankfully, the book also has a set of actionable guidance to help someone improve, and it is rather MT-compatible (focus on behaviours, that sort of thing).  I'd highly recommend taking a read (it's fairly short, only takes a few hours to get through).

GlennR's picture

>>HR did suggest to me she take an on line or similar course if available on proper corporate communications via email.<<

As a former Learning & Development Director I've found that people often think the solution to a problem is more training. If the root cause of the problem is lack of training, then yes. But the root cause is frequently something else, rooted in that person's personality. In other words, they know better, they deliberately choose not to perform as desired. No training program is going to solve that problem.

On the other hand, if the person is unaware of the impact her behaviors have, once she is aware of them, training might be helpful. If she's willing to change her behavior.

Don't automatically default to training without determining the root cause and developing a strategy to solve the problem. That strategy may or may not involve training.

Sometimes it's as simple as asking, "Is this problem created by lack of training or is it due to other causes?"

STEVENM's picture

"Training Isn't Always The Answer"

In this case it actually seems like it is though.  And in most cases it couldn't hurt, probably helps.  Direct feedback about the communication issues and then asking them to take a course addressing those behaviors accomplishes a lot:

1. They now know their behavior is a problem.  And you can document that.

2. You demonstrate a desire to avoid firing the person.  You're taking steps to improve the situation first.  Good for them, and for HR, and any court to know if the time comes.

3. Provides them with the resources they need to address the problem.

4. Can be used to demonstrate you even put extra resources (time, cash, whatever) into saving the situation if, in a worst case, you end up letting them go and they fight back.

They might get the message and shape up.  They might get the message but need more specific guidance (not all classes are created equal).  They might ignore it completely and not.  Either way it's a good first step towards resolving the situation, whether it's the good or bad outcome.

Root cause analysis is great for systems.  Less so for people.  Because, honestly, we tend to do it badly.  It's one of the things demonstrated by DISC and I was under the impression it was a common MT mindset.

GlennR's picture

@Stevenm, we're not that far apart. 

In this case, training may have helped. But, in other cases, if lack of training in not the cause and the person refuses to change his or her behavior, then training is not the solution. As for "root cause analysis" not working on people, that may have been a poor choice of words on my part. I wasn't being literal, What I did mean was that you need to ascertain the true cause of the problem. Is it training related, or is it something else?

For example, a sales rep is a high performer in terms of sales volume. But his refusal to accurately update the customer database on a timely basis negatively impacts the marketing department, that customer's experience (e.g. making him ineligible for add'l discounts or incentives) as well as senior managers attempting to use data to devise business strategies.

Question: Is this a training problem? Yes, if the barrier here is his inability to use the software. No, if he knows how to use it and chooses to put his personal goals above that of his employer. (For example, sacrificing "admin" time to generate more leads or build relationships with current customers.)

Therefore, I recommend always asking early on if training is the issue or not. Once you have the answer, you know which path to take.


STEVENM's picture

Your no could also be a "Yes, if time management is the thing he really needs training on."

In theory we do agree.  If you ran into a person who was really thinking that way and refused to tweak behavior because they had a flawed idea of what will benefit everyone (themselves included) and wouldn't listen to you then no amount of training is going to fix that problem.  That's why you have the conversation.  Once you do there are few people out there, I think, who are malicious like you seem to suggest.  Or not quite malicious, just... selfish-stupid hybrids.  People generally want to look good, want to do well, and want to avoid getting canned.  After you've told them what they need to do in order to make that happen you can run into defensiveness or hurt feelings, but that can usually be smoothed over.  Even so, rarely is it straight up bad intentions.

Or to put it more simply, if you build a golden bridge to where someone wants to go I don't know many people who will choose to jump into the ravine.  YMMV.