I'd been wanting to talk to my boss for a while, I had been wanting to bring up the subject of Stephen. One of the projects I manage was behind and one of my direct-report had a long list of tasks--deadlines that were late. I didn't want my boss to think that I didn't see the performance issues with my direct. I told my boss of my direct that I din't think he is in the right role and could do the job to the standard we needed. My bosses advice was to let them go and we weren't doing anyone any favors by hanging on to this report. I took this under consideration. I knew that the hardest part about firing him itself would be firing him. Yes, there were repercussions on his life: he had bought a house not long ago, his daughter was about to start her college years. But most likely he would find something new. He gained a lot of new skills and experience on the job. And is there ever a good time to fire anybody? I downloaded the Manager Tools episode on How to Fire Someone. I told my boss to give me 6 months to see if I couldn't turn things around. I know it's a lot of time but I just needed the time so I can go to sleep at night. I outlined that the MT guidance had multiple phases, and I would in parallel do whatever HR required before firing someone. If, for example, HR required 3 months of documentation, I would document for HR starting 3 months into the 6-month period, so it would not be 6-months of MT coaching guidance, and then 3 months of HR documentation. His advice was to talk to HR, since they have had "performance improvement plans" before. Then it was time for me to begin work with my direct on his development plan. I made it clear that the goal of the plan was to address his marginal performance. I stated that I think he can be great, and I want to see him get great. We brainstormed resources, demonstrable deadlines, etc. I tried not to dominate the discussion. I did put in there a couple things that I wanted to see done (more scientific method, more attention to project timelines). Some weeks, I thought he was blowing off the development plan. I gave him negative feedback when this happened. Eventually, though, I did see him pay very close attention to the project plan and its constituent milestones. When he did, I gave him positive feedback. We basically didn't make it out of the 1st phase of feedback, because his performance improved drastically. We now can't get things done without this individual. I am glad to have him on the team, and it would take a crazy amount of time to find someone equivalent to him!

Poojan Wagh