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Does anyone have any ideas about how I can manage this person "better"?

(13 Posts)
MrsSchadenfreude Tue 18-Oct-11 21:05:45

I have this person in my team who always seems to do exactly what he wants to do - he does stuff that he finds interesting, during the day, rather than what he is supposed to do. The stuff he is supposed to do does get done, but he is working/emailing until the small hours.

We have tried being more directive (I say "we" - I do not directly line manage him, but I head up the team) and getting him to tell us what he has on during the day, but he just tells us what he wants to hear and then does his own thing - eg he will go and listen to a talk on farming, then do his work after hours.

I am getting more and more pissed off with his behaviour - he rarely copies me or his line manager into work that he does, but just goes straight to the head of the office (I am no. 2). Either he doesn't like being managed and just wants to do his own thing, or he thinks he should be managed by someone more important. Head of office has brought his behaviour up with me, saying that I am "failing to lead" this person, conveniently ignoring the fact that the rest of the team work really well. I have spelled out what actions I and his line manager have taken, to show that this is something we have been trying to grip for ages. I have turned the tables and asked head of office what he would advise next - he unhelpfully had no suggestions, beyond saying it needed to be sorted out.

I've been leading teams for over 20 years, and have never come across this sort of behaviour before - does anyone have any suggestions about what we can do next?

Uglymush Tue 18-Oct-11 21:09:07

Unhelpfully I a colleague has a similar issue (although supported by their line manager) so I would be interested in any replies you get

horMOANSnomore Tue 18-Oct-11 21:45:21

Sorry, another one watching with interest. A member of my team does her own thing too. She gets the work done but 'gets bored easily' and prefers to do little bits and pieces at a time rather than following a task through to the end and then starting another one. She frustrates everyone around her but it's difficult to complain about her or to her as she completes the jobs in her own sweet time.

She's dyslexic and this might explain her short attention span but her carelessness and disorganisation drives me up the wall!

purplewerepidj Tue 18-Oct-11 21:51:21

I have no experience of managing anyone, but...

Can you not haul him in on a disciplinary for misuse of company resources? Surely doing as he pleases in this instance equates to surfing the net, which would be misuse of the company computer.

Also, I assume that swanning off to a talk on farming is not relevant to the actual job role Pidj lives in a relatively rural community and doesn't think farmers get much time for lectures

Have a look through the fine print of his/your contract and the company policies. He will also be breaking Working Time Regs if he claims he is working when he's in the office then completes work in his own time...

CaptainNancy Tue 18-Oct-11 23:00:30

What is it you're unhappy with? He does his work- is it to the required standard?

Does he annoy others, or does he have good relationships with the other team members?

Is he customer facing? (i.e. it is imperative that he work in office hours e.g. 9-5) or is it fine that he works until midnight as he puts in the required time and does the required work?

or is he claiming overtime?

MrsSchadenfreude Wed 19-Oct-11 06:55:44

He does his work, usually to a good standard. But he usually does it at 2.00 am, rather than during the working day. He annoys his LM and those who report to him, as he is never around during the day. Previous head of office loved him and thought the sun shone out of his arse, and encouraged this behaviour, because he was ostensibly working long hours (they would often both be emailing in the small hours). New boss has decided that this behaviour is not on and that I need to get a grip of it.

I think there are two issues here, actually: his "working pattern" - not doing his job during the day and his habit of only dealing with the head of the office. Previous head of the office quite liked this, I suspect, and used to say in a half hearted way, oh you must remember to copy in your LM and Mrs S. New boss is as delighted as I am to come in to 40+ emails sent overnight - often as a stream of consciousness rather than consolidated, thought-through emails. And as this colleague is surviving on around 4 hours sleep a night, I think he is going to make himself ill.

MavisG Wed 19-Oct-11 08:00:39

His LM needs to meet with him, document the meeting, set out what's required, eg being available 9-5, coming to LM not head of office (get H of O to forward all emails to the LM). If LM can secure person's agreement, great, monitor compliance. Any objections, LM makes it clear: this is a description of the role: if you no longer want it then goodbye.

Lizcat Wed 19-Oct-11 08:42:32

Is it possoble to bring in core hours in which everyone is expected to be in the office?

purplewerepidj Wed 19-Oct-11 09:34:23

Head of Office needs to reply to each and every email asking what Line Manager and MrsS think.

"40+ emails sent overnight - often as a stream of consciousness rather than consolidated, thought-through emails"

Collate them all into one email, then send it back asking for a version that makes sense for clarification of any points that need acting on.

It sounds like it's his arrogance that's getting up your nose, and that's harder to deal with wink

Ciske Wed 19-Oct-11 09:43:24

Does your work have a poor performance/discipline procedure that you could use?

If his behaviour is negatively effecting others and means he is not available when required, that means he is not actually a good performer. Failing to keep his manager informed of his hours and workstack, sending incoherent emails, not acting on specific feedback from his manager and seniors - this is serious stuff and not consistent with being a good performer.

What does your HR department advice?

flowery Wed 19-Oct-11 13:07:43

He's not taking you seriously, presumably because you are (hopefully) making clear what your expectations are but failure to comply doesn't result in much happening in terms of consequences.

You need to get more formal with it and the first thing in my view needs to be deciding who is managing this guy, and making that 100% clear to him. That person and only that person needs to deal with him. Others can of course be informed and involved in decision-making as to next steps, but he needs to be clear who he reports to.

Then whoever it is needs to have a more formal meeting with him setting out expectations clearly, writing it all down and giving that to him, and having regular scheduled meetings to review it and he needs to be clear during this that if there isn't immediate improvement in his behaviour it will be a disciplinary issue.

You don't need to find or create some policy for him to be breaching to take action, you are allowed to decide what behaviour/performance levels are acceptable and take action if those are not adhered to, as long as he is clear what those standards are.

purplewerepidj Wed 19-Oct-11 13:25:10

Just a thought...

You are clearly female. Is the LM also female?

Was the previous HoO male? Is the new one male or female?

Or, are any of you gay, black/other non-white background etc etc?

Ie, is this a simple case of him having despicable attitudes and only respecting Straight White Men as having any authority over him...

flowermonkey Fri 21-Oct-11 19:35:34

Haul him into a meeting. Tell him his approach isn't working and you are getting complaints.

Outline how you want him to work:-
In office 9 to 5
Reporting to his Line Manager (not HoD)
Copying you in on relevant emails
Updating you in one email (not 40)

Tell him he needs to take this seriously or it will be a disciplinary issue. Put it all in writing.

If he is still pratting around four weeks on I would start a disciplinary process. Be clear and stick to your guns.

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