How to manage subordinates?

I have a young guy that works underneath me, but I always feel he is very slow and inefficient with how he does his work. What should take 1 hour is taking him 3-4. It resorts to me trying to understand where his time goes, and I don’t get any useful feedback. I’m trying to find ways for us to work better together, but it’s not working. I don’t want to escalate this, bc I think he is a good kid, but just needs to understand a sense of urgency when it comes to deliverables. Any useful advice on how to motivate a young staff memeber. Also we are remote so it’s hard for me to be accountable for his time now. Before I would be sitting next to him. 

Not sure of the work he's doing, but require him to fill out timesheets and let him know the estimated amount of time he has to complete each task. Incentives could help, to an extent. OR let him no his jobs on the line if he doesnt show improvement.

3 Likes

You can't fix shitty work habits without strict enforcement i.e. the military or prison. He may need to learn lessons that OJT can't teach. 

Moose09000 -

I have a young guy that works underneath me, but I always feel he is very slow and inefficient with how he does his work. What should take 1 hour is taking him 3-4. It resorts to me trying to understand where his time goes, and I don’t get any useful feedback. I’m trying to find ways for us to work better together, but it’s not working. I don’t want to escalate this, bc I think he is a good kid, but just needs to understand a sense of urgency when it comes to deliverables. Any useful advice on how to motivate a young staff memeber. Also we are remote so it’s hard for me to be accountable for his time now. Before I would be sitting next to him. 

Gary, is that you? Look, I told you I'd get the reports to you as soon as I can, but I'm still waiting for Erin to send me the data she put together. I'll check back in after making a sandwich and taking a nap

Some people are just slow. They walk around aimlessly, they read slow, they just stop and stare at things. I know people like that and it drives me crazy, they accomplish nothing in most of the time they are existing. I don't think you can fix this unless you go back in time and whip them into shape as youngsters. About the only thing you can do is shame him at how slow he is at doing things, but I don't think it will work because in his eyes you'll be the weird one that thinks life is a big rush.

Too busy looking for Pepe Sylvia

It sounds like you're not giving him deadlines. Make his tasks count. Give him targets to shoot for. 

The kid needs a manager. It sounds like you're not managing him.

OP is putting too much stress on lil Charlie. 

Depends if his quality of work is good once completed. If it is, You tell him

“Hey young buck, you do great work. The higher ups are happy with what they see, the quality is good. However, we just gotta work on your sense of urgency with it. Capisce?”

If his quality of work is shitty you say 

“God damnit son, the fuck is wrong with you?”

 

I always explained the big picture to my subordinates to show them how much their work mattered to an end goal. Often times, people think they are working for the sake of doing work and don't understand how integral their portion of the process is to the overall endgame. I would find out how long the deliverables are taking and then try to give him deadlines that are realistic but quicker than what he does. For example, if a report takes him 10 hours to complete (building for scratch through different data sets, waiting on others to give him information, etc) I would ask him to do it in 6 hours. Slowly mold him over time to meet your work ethic and expecations through regular 1x1 meeting with positive enforcement. I have done this throughout my career and I have had employees really go the extra mile for me. Also, I would eventually ask him to codify his processes through a BPD that you can review and figure out any disconnects that can make the work take longer.

I would avoid coming across like a total micro manager and/or hard ass as that will end up backfiring. You will either write him up or terminate him eventually if you go that route and get stuck doing the work yourself until you fill the position and train the new person.

I have had maybe 2 good bosses in my life that worked with me and developed my work habit. Most other bosses were assholes who demanded I do the work in a set time to help make them look good to their superiors and micromanaged everything from getting coffee to bathroom breaks. Whatever you do, don't be like those people.

2 Likes

You can teach someone a job.

You can't teach them to work. They have it or they don't.

Kids quit being willing to work hard more than 20 years ago.

I was in refractory masonry. We would go through a big handful of laborers each time we needed to find one new guy.

Many quit at lunch the first day. Many just never came back the second day. Most of the rest would quit after their first payday.

Tough as hell to find one worth keeping, and they were very well paid for unskilled labor.

People are getting lazier and it isn't going to get any better.

cyberc92 -

I always explained the big picture to my subordinates to show them how much their work mattered to an end goal. Often times, people think they are working for the sake of doing work and don't understand how integral their portion of the process is to the overall endgame. I would find out how long the deliverables are taking and then try to give him deadlines that are realistic but quicker than what he does. For example, if a report takes him 10 hours to complete (building for scratch through different data sets, waiting on others to give him information, etc) I would ask him to do it in 6 hours. Slowly mold him over time to meet your work ethic and expecations through regular 1x1 meeting with positive enforcement. I have done this throughout my career and I have had employees really go the extra mile for me. Also, I would eventually ask him to codify his processes through a BPD that you can review and figure out any disconnects that can make the work take longer.


I would avoid coming across like a total micro manager and/or hard ass as that will end up backfiring. You will either write him up or terminate him eventually if you go that route and get stuck doing the work yourself until you fill the position and train the new person.


I have had maybe 2 good bosses in my life that worked with me and developed my work habit. Most other bosses were assholes who demanded I do the work in a set time to help make them look good to their superiors and micromanaged everything from getting coffee to bathroom breaks. Whatever you do, don't be like those people.

I’m trying hard not to micro manage, but it isn’t easy. I need him to do things that I need to review in order to meet deadlines. 

Going through this myself. The new guy takes forever to do things. He over analyzes everything.

Sit with him and watch how he does things and offer constructive feedback. Even if it’s via zoom. Then schedule a morning checkpoint and help him prioritize his activities  for the day until he starts producing.

cyberc92 -

I always explained the big picture to my subordinates to show them how much their work mattered to an end goal. Often times, people think they are working for the sake of doing work and don't understand how integral their portion of the process is to the overall endgame. I would find out how long the deliverables are taking and then try to give him deadlines that are realistic but quicker than what he does. For example, if a report takes him 10 hours to complete (building for scratch through different data sets, waiting on others to give him information, etc) I would ask him to do it in 6 hours. Slowly mold him over time to meet your work ethic and expecations through regular 1x1 meeting with positive enforcement. I have done this throughout my career and I have had employees really go the extra mile for me. Also, I would eventually ask him to codify his processes through a BPD that you can review and figure out any disconnects that can make the work take longer.


I would avoid coming across like a total micro manager and/or hard ass as that will end up backfiring. You will either write him up or terminate him eventually if you go that route and get stuck doing the work yourself until you fill the position and train the new person.


I have had maybe 2 good bosses in my life that worked with me and developed my work habit. Most other bosses were assholes who demanded I do the work in a set time to help make them look good to their superiors and micromanaged everything from getting coffee to bathroom breaks. Whatever you do, don't be like those people.

This 100%. Employees who know why the work theyre doing contributes to larger goals are more engaged. 

Dryfly -

You can teach someone a job.

You can't teach them to work. They have it or they don't.

Kids quit being willing to work hard more than 20 years ago.

I was in refractory masonry. We would go through a big handful of laborers each time we needed to find one new guy.

Many quit at lunch the first day. Many just never came back the second day. Most of the rest would quit after their first payday.

Tough as hell to find one worth keeping, and they were very well paid for unskilled labor.

People are getting lazier and it isn't going to get any better.

I agree with this and incentives don't work because it's fleeting.  Setting a good standard for what is expected up front helps so there isn't problems later on and you don't have to micromanage to do it.  I am a little older than most people here and I have seen things go south in some corporations from sexual harrasment, drug abuse and people just not working out.  People have been written up, removed by the police (for stealing) in hand cuffs, walked out by Univerisity police and it can suck.

Workers who do the bare minimum are hard to manage. They aren't so bad that it's an easy call to terminate, and they aren't good enough to hold a position that a better employee could have.

It seems like you already made your decision to keep him. But, if you can't figure out how to motivate him you won't change his productivity level.

What techniques have you used to try and motivate him? Usually a reward system works for those who can't self-motivate and don't respond well to punishment. If a reward system doesn't work, then you usually won't be able to motivate them at all. 

 

DaveFu - 

You can't fix shitty work habits without strict enforcement i.e. the military or prison. He may need to learn lessons that OJT can't teach. 


This. People sometimes come in with bad habits and all its takes is 5 days that break them. Stick to them hard for 5 days and let up. There will be friction, but once a guy knows where you stand he'll usually starighten up.

fire that asshole

You need to start treating him like he's not meeting expectations...because he's not meeting expectations.

"Look Timmy, I like you and you're a nice guy, but I need to have an honest conversation with you.

While our work may not be thrilling all the time, it's important. It helps keep the company working properly and it helps you and I make a living.

I feel you are slow and inefficient with how you do your work. What should take 1 hour is taking you 3-4. I’m trying to find ways for us to work better together, but it’s not working.

You're a good kid, but you need to understand a sense of urgency when it comes to deliverables.

I’m trying hard not to micro manage, but it isn’t easy. I need you to do things that I need to review in order to meet deadlines."

If he doesn't understand or doesn't make improvements find someone else.

There are people out there who want to work.