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Author Topic: How to deal with an underling at work?  (Read 266 times)
Bob
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« on: July 05, 2017, 10:58:22 PM »

I just want to get something going for a thread here.  I'm fishing for ideas.

I've been assigned someone below me at work to help out with my job.  No experience.  Not too bright either (which is an issue).  Maybe a high school level education?  I haven't asked but... oi...  It's not all there.

Still I'm supposed to train to this person.  Something's missing in terms of brain processing and drive to work though.  I figure if you have a job, you do it.  That's the motivation to work. 

This guy got a job because someone knew someone, someone felt sorry for him, yadda yadda yadda.  I don't really care.  They're not quite the sharpest person for sure.  But I'm stuck with them.


So....
Any ideas on how to work with a person like this?  Simple is good, but some things I've noticed get so simple it bores them.  Not my problem, but the work gets sloppy.  (Yes, it would be easier to do the work myself.  Done right, no need to explain it or check it [and then correct it when it's messed up]).

And much more importantly to me -- Any ideas on how I can cover my butt?  I still have my stuff to do.  This new person drags me down, actually makes more work for me -- More to do, less time to do it in.  If I have the person do nothing, I don't mind because I can get more of my stuff done.  That's not great, but it's 100% true.  So I need to at least appear to train this person or give them something to do.  If it were graded I'd probably give them a D or C.  Ok but... nothing special.  Would have been easier and quicker just to do it myself.

Any thoughts?  Ideas?  It's like being stuck with a student who isn't trying too much, probably won't do much.... but you're really stuck with the person.

Any ideas on deflecting blame too?  I put some things in writing so there's a paper trail.   I predict this new person is going to screw something up.  (Then I'll have to help them fix the situation.)

Oi... and grr....  Some things I've literally explained to them three times, walked them through it.  Simple things.  And they still ask about it, what to do about it, for that same explanation again 15 minutes later.

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dogperson
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« Reply #1 on: July 05, 2017, 11:30:36 PM »

Been there, done that more than once and own a T-shirt with the slogan 'forced to train the un-trainable'.  I must admit that in my work life I am not shy and retiring:  so if I have given someone a task, explained it three times and they can't do it or are sloppy....  I document it and report it.

I have been known to say, more than once,  to a manager 'I can't train this person to do quality work and he is slowing me down from doing my job.   We don't need him in this department; maybe he is better suited for XXX ' 

I would recommend that if you have a handful (even a small handful of examples), you go to your manager and get rid of the slug.   Smiley   I never feel permanently stuck, just temporarily stuck, and I make the temporary interval very short.

YMMV.
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Bob
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« Reply #2 on: July 06, 2017, 02:55:41 AM »

Yes, the documentation part...  I've been thinking about that.  What a royal pain though.  I've got notes on things... because I smart enough (or not?) to collect my own info and take notes while I could.  If I end up making notes for the new person, plus explain it a few times... It's like documenting screwing in a light bulb.  It's way less time to just change it then to do all that.

I guess I need a way to show that I attempted to train the person, and it's not so much my fault. 


I also need to cover my own butt though.  Potentially it could be turned around that I messed up training this person, that it's my fault.


My supervisor's a bit of a simple idiot and picked this underling person, so there's that angle too.  Aw, poor person... Let's give them a job!  Even though they don't really have any skills to offer... And don't seem to pick up on them fast....

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outin
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« Reply #3 on: July 06, 2017, 03:33:13 AM »

Happens here too, because some people have fallen off the development long ago and there's no way to get rid of someone permanent just because they are slightly incompetent... I usually just try to not expect too much and hope for the best. Too often end up cleaning up the mess myself... I am not a very patient person, so the most important thing is to work on handling my own frustration...
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My summer projects: Scarlatti K87, K466, K109, Scriabin op74 preludes, Chopin Waltz 69-2 and Berceuse. And just exploring more music...
Bob
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« Reply #4 on: July 06, 2017, 11:25:40 AM »

slightly incompetent...

work on handling my own frustration...


Yep.  Those words stuck out.  Slightly incompetent is a good way to describe this new person. 

There's actually "training" them.
Keeping them busy so I can still get my stuff done.
But I'm also concerned about not having it come back on me if the person doesn't perform well.  Or well enough.  It's about convincing my supervisor that I've done my job in that area I guess.  Something like that.  I can put things in writing for this person and then document what I do I suppose.

It's annoying how backwards it is.  Hire someone to help out to save some effort... in idea.  But in reality hire someone who's not quite there for basic competency... end up wiping out more time and producing even more work.

I think at some point I see this new person failing a little more obviously.  I don't want to get blamed for it, for training them.  I guess I need to prepare for that.  I'll take any ideas in this area.  It would be something like, "Hey, that person working under you royally screwed up."  Me, "Yeah, I worked them three times and gave them a step-by-step guide on how to do that.  I guess they didn't follow that."  It's pinning the responsibility on them for their screw ups.
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timothy42b
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« Reply #5 on: July 06, 2017, 12:25:30 PM »

All of us who've ever supervised or managed have been there.

I have some suggestions but no time at the moment. 

But.  Don't see obstacle, see opportunity.  This is a golden opportunity to add an essential management skill to your repertoire.  There is a way to get the most out of this person, and it's your job to figure it out. 

(that most won't be as much as for some more talented workers, but it will be the best you can do)
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Tim
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« Reply #6 on: July 06, 2017, 05:46:41 PM »

What do you do for work?
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Bob
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« Reply #7 on: July 07, 2017, 12:33:45 AM »

Work for an idiot and manage an idiot now apparently.
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Bob
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« Reply #8 on: July 14, 2017, 10:53:34 PM »

Bob:  "Here's some rope.  You've earned the privledge (I think.  I can't really tell.  I'm just giving you this because some time has passed, and I'd like my own supervisor to see I've relaxed things a bit."

Bob:  "Haha... Here's the rope.  Don't hang yourself."


Later....







Bob:  "What are you doing?  That's not at all what I said to do. Roll Eyes  In fact, it's just the opposite.  It's what I said NOT to do, made a point to emphasize the NOT doing that part... but you're starting to do that anyway...."
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Favorite new teacher quote -- "You found the only possible wrong answer."
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