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Should He Stay or Should He Go? Expand / Collapse
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Posted Thursday, September 25, 2008 10:07 PM


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Comments posted to this topic are about the item Should He Stay or Should He Go?






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Post #576501
Posted Friday, September 26, 2008 1:37 AM


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Firing? how crude.

In any large company, the effort and expense involved, to say nothing of the negative visibility to oneself, precludes any possibility of sacking (firing) this guy. It isn't an option. Whenever someone like this gets in your hair, you promote him in order to be rid of him. It is obvious from reading Eric's case history that this has been happening to him already. I write about this effect in The Sceptic Tank

In some corporates, this happens so much that it is very hard to detect who is really running a department and making the real decisions. I've often been surprised to find the management offices in companies full of people like Eric, and almost by accident I've found the real powerhouse of a department in an out-of-the-way spot bereft of any symbols of status. The real managers often occupy low-status jobs in the organisation, but at least they are left in peace and don't have to worry about the 'Eric's of this world.

In the past, I have used an alternative, but infallible technique which I here pass on for posterity. You flatter the guy to death. Not literally, I admit. In Eric's case, he was always thinking he was underpaid and undervalued. Exploit this by saying that we all could see his huge potential, but sadly, there were few opportunities in this company on the titanic scale his talents deserved. Keep the hints going. Pander to his ego. He will become bolder and more confident in his self esteem. Everybody believes they are immune to flattery. It sometimes helps to soften these guys up by saying 'I can see that you're too shrewd to be taken in by flattery'. Infallible. Eventually, frustrated by our inability to find a role that matches his potential, he will look elsewhere. I have managed the bullseye in the past of persuading an 'Eric' to resign and flounce out before he has another job to go to.





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Phil Factor
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Post #576571
Posted Friday, September 26, 2008 3:20 AM


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Phil you old rogue I just knew you would say that - promote him to his level of incompetence! :D

Now I would go down the path of personal improvement plan with periodic review for Eric and lay it out plainly either things improve or redundancy maybe an option......

The guy obviously needs some discipline instilling into him. :D

I'm immune to flaterry - unless of course there is something in it for me....;)


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Post #576624
Posted Friday, September 26, 2008 3:40 AM


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I think there's little doubt "Eric" should not be allowed to continue as is. However, I'd be wary of firing him, since it seems to me that much of this problem is not of his own making. It's easy to say his expectations are unrealistic, but there are hints in the profile to suggest the hiring manager shied away from being explicit, so allowing a certain amount of misinterpretation to creep in.

I've seen several similar situations before, where the summary of events has been collated to a fair degree by the very people who did the hiring and subsequent managing. The summary carefully points out certain key pieces of information that have been imparted to the employee, whilst carefully skirting around the fact that that information was imparted in short, ambiguous asides at points in conversations where they could be slipped in without their true importance being spotted. I'm not suggesting this is definitely the case here; just that it's as likely as not.

As I see it, a manager has responsibility in three main areas; selection, training and supervision. Eric was poorly selected, insufficiently trained (for the wider responsibilities of his job and/or career path) and inadequately supervised (particularly in management of expectations). Personally, I'd say "Evelyn" is a more immediate candidate for firing than Eric.

So my preference would be for a "cards on the table" interview with Eric. Once he knows the true situation, he's as well equipped as the company to re-evaluate the professional relationship. It starts the justification for subsequent job termination if it should become necessary, but also establishes a new starting point with measurables - everyone knows where they stand, and by what criteria the whole situation will be judged. And, it should be added, I've seen a few people treated like this who've gone on to become hugely valuable colleagues.


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Post #576638
Posted Friday, September 26, 2008 3:42 AM
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I think we've all encountered an Eric. I worked with one a few years ago (not the first, and I'm sure it won't be the last) who was in the end fired. Very similar to this story he was an individual who considered himself to be much more talented than was the case; but for this Eric, it didn't lead to arrogance, instead he would attempt tasks beyond his competency, leave an almighty mess in his wake, and the rest of his team had to spend time cleaning up after him. Eric worked on a test team, so his messes were seldom critical; but eventually his team mates convinced their manager that he wasted so much of their time that he was a liability. He had laready been moved round a number of different teams, no other manager was willing to take him on, improvement plans were tried (and failed), and eventually it fell to a colleague of Eric's (and a personal friend of mine) to come up with an "assessment plan" - to show how effective he was in his role - and other team members were instructed to report weekly on how much time they spent fixing or re-doing tasks Eric had already attempted. The two reports were completed over an eight week period and sent to HR and a senior management team for evaluation - the decision was that he cost the company more than he earned, and that he was barely competent to do his job - he was fired, and went with relatively little fuss (my friend reckons that he was well aware of his fate long before the axe fell).

As a post-script: Eric's father was a very successful local businessman, owned a string of car dealer ships and workshops, and eventually employed Eric in his own business; not before he turned up at our offices a day or two after Eric's sacking, and demanded a meeting with the company's Managing Director to explain why his son had been fired. (From this you might guess our Eric's age, in fact he was in his mid-forties).



Dave Leathem.
It's just what we asked for but not what we want! (The Customer's Creed)
Post #576639
Posted Friday, September 26, 2008 4:19 AM


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Phil gave a good answer on this Q.

But I wonder why Evelyn let Eric to get to work so late, 11 AM.?

What was Eric job description that is he so irreplaceable?

There is no job like that, everybody is replaceable.


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Post #576653
Posted Friday, September 26, 2008 4:29 AM
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A common complaint I heard in an earlier life, in the (UK) civil service, was that it was impossible to sack incompetent people because the terms and conditions guaranteed job security. This was just a lack of management will. The process for documenting, counselling, warning and eventually terminating (if necessary) was certainly bureaucratic, heavy and took months, but you simply had to do it by the book (oh yes, there was quite a book!). And it made the manager examine their own role, and their responsibilities - to set and manage standards and expectations, train, counsel and offer support, to be honest and clear to the under-performer, and to see whether there was a different post where skillset and work would be a better match. It was a method for ensuring, documenting and proving fairness and even-handedness.

It could lead to a lot of personal soul-searching and required a lot of laborious work monitoring an individual, and it was no fun at all to be instrumental in someone's departure (termination or resignation). But the manager and workgroup benefitted from having a clear and fair approach to standards of work and under-performance, and from the removal of a major source of error and resentment.
Post #576661
Posted Friday, September 26, 2008 5:31 AM


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My personal preference is document & fire, but I know that my company will go through counseling, remediation, more counseling, documentation, extra training, heart felt discusions, yet more counseling, more documentation... eventually you can fire someone but you have to walk on hot coals while juggling running chainsaws and singing Ethyl Merman tunes in order to do it. Most managers just suffer with the Erics or try to get them transferred into various backwaters in the organization. That's the biggest drawback to working with a large organization.

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Post #576691
Posted Friday, September 26, 2008 5:40 AM


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I think Phil has the right idea... that will work over time....
Post #576696
Posted Friday, September 26, 2008 5:42 AM


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Mark, I know your not one for flattery, but you are looking good these days.....

:D:D:D

Sorry couldn't stop myself

;)


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Post #576697
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