My peer's performance is frustrating
I'm a faithful reader who needs your advice on how to obtain better performance from someone I do not supervise, but submit work to.
Our office assistant is supervised by my manager. Much of her work product, I believe, is sub-standard. She does not proofread her work and sends ergonomic assessment reports she has completed to many employees and supervisors within our organization. Part of my job is to also complete ergonomic assessments. I type the assessments I have completed, and the office assistant types the reports of those she has completed. Without exception, her work product has a minimum of five typographical errors in each and every report, or poor sentence structure. I think it's important that the work we produce is error-free and as grammatically correct as possible. Careless mistakes reflect on not only the credibility of the ergonomic assessment, but on our department, as a whole.
Aside from the ergonomic assessments, I submit other kinds of work to our office assistant. Many times what I get back is not up to standard, in my opinion, and I ask her to make the necessary corrections.
I think I need to talk with my manager and ask him what his expectations are, but the one time I did approach him about the office assistant's curt and abrasive treatment (outside our department) of other employees and the public, he said he was happy with her approach, so I did not press any further.
I think her typing errors are just an extension of her all-round poor attitude. I have also noticed that she spends an inordinate amount of time "texting" at her desk, she eats at her desk, and her desk, in general, has a messy, unprofessional appearance.
I appreciate your insight into my concerns.
Apparently, you have higher standards than your manager does. He should have addressed the “curt and abrasive” treatment and at least investigated the situation and followed up with you. He is probably able to witness the texting and is certainly aware if her work area is unprofessional. So, is he lazy, non-confrontational, or hands-off in his day-to-day management style? And, if he ignores problems like this, dare I suggest that he probably doesn’t notice and recognize good work, either?
The only other explanations I can think of, is that he doesn’t see her final work product before it goes out the door, or his proofreading skills are as bad as hers.
While I agree that her work is a poor reflection on the whole department, complaining about it may backfire. It’s usually a little tricky to complain about a co-worker. It can sound like tattling—especially if her work output isn’t hurting you, personally (other than having to correct her errors on other work you give her).
Normally, I would suggest that you discuss this with your manager but he rebuffed your attempts to intervene before. In this situation, he is clearly the one in control, not you.
However, if you feel there is a reasonable chance he will be open to your concerns, approach it with an attitude of helpful concern for her credibility and an opportunity for on-the-job development. You could say, “I know Sabrina cares about her credibility. I don’t know if you review her reports or not before they go out, but they have at least five typos and grammatical errors, per report. I know you wouldn’t want her, or the department, to look bad, so I figured you’d want to know so you could give her some coaching." Don’t elaborate on her work space or texting unless he leads the conversation in that direction. A long laundry list of wrongs could make him see you as the problem.
But if he listens at all, don’t be surprised if he asks you to proofread her reports.
Does your team need a tune-up?
We will conduct a detailed assessment and get to the bottom of the problem. We will provide you with detailed recommendations and work with you, and your team, to implement needed changes. We work with all levels within your organization, team or department. We have an excellent track record of success with teams in a variety of industries. Call us today for information at (800) 348-1944.
Confronting poor performance, or difficult behaviors, is difficult. Joan Lloyd’s How to Coach & Give Feedback CD
is a step-by-step approach to giving feedback to your employees, your coworkers, or even your boss. Actually reduces defensiveness and encourages open communication.
Joan Lloyd is a Milwaukee based executive coach and organizational & leadership development strategist. She is known for her ability to help leaders and their teams achieve measurable, lasting improvements. Joan Lloyd & Associates, specializes in leadership development, organizational change and teambuilding, providing: executive coaching, CEO coaching & team coaching, 360-degree feedback processes, customized training (leadership skills, presentation skills, internal consulting skills & facilitation skills), team conflict resolution and retreat facilitation.
to submit your question for consideration for publication, request permission to reprint an article for distribution, or for information about carrying Joan Lloyd's weekly column in your publication, or on your Internet or Intranet site. Visit JoanLloyd.com
to search an archive of more than 1400 of Joan's articles.
© Joan Lloyd & Associates, Inc.