SHALL I HELP HIM OR FIRE HIM OR IGNORE HIM?
CHOOSE: BEING DRAGGED DOWN, RESCUING, OR UPGRADING
Being written, published so that I can find it via the search engine; so you'll have to read this for its valuable content and ignore its "unfinishedness".
NOT GETTING SUCKED INTO HUGE SINKHOLES
One of the big sinkholes of life is to try to help a person "improve" his life, his work, and/or his relationships. First of all, you're not usually expert enough to be the teacher, in terms of total knowledge nor in terms of teaching ability. It's probably "not your job", though social mores (morays) say it is "good to help others" and "it'll make you happy." But like many mass opinions they could be wrong or at least lacking of distinctions and definition and sufficient detail, including tradeoffs.
Mostly, if in doubt, get out! Don't do the helping. Exit the scene. Don't be involved. It'll make you unhappier and use up your time that could be spent elsewhere to provide you something you value (such as helping people where there is an actual benefit, such as in philanthropy.
ALONG THE WAY...
If one is to potentially make progress, one has to be willing to confront the individual and to tell the truth. This can be uncomfortable, so we often will avoid it. But here is what to say - sweet and simple.
"We have a problem here. What I need from you is this result _____________. Are you willing to do what it takes to get that result or shall I find someone else to do it?
Are you willing to intensely learn what is needed and rapidly improve your results? Are you willing to use high productivity methods and/or high benefit methods?
Of course, I am willing to help, if you are truly committed to doing this and feel that you are able to do. What help do you think you need from me?"
Where is the line?
The smarter line is more toward ruthlessness, especially when you consider that people let themselves drift toward "having to be nice" and/or not being willing to confront. "Ruthlessness" in this case is meant to be "hard and fast", but you can be compassionate, just not letting yourself be stuck in rut because of compassion as an excuse (to fit the social mores).
Especially difficult when the person is a nice person and is a volunteer (but an insincere one if he/she doesn't do the job!). Constantly rescue or confront this and be done with it? What would you say or do?
Cut down duties. (I need to be able to rely on you to come through on time. Should we cut down on the duties or do you even want to be involved at all? I appeciate your willingness to help. Would you like to do single projects rather than have a regular role.
Screen beforehand, instead of being "in scarcity" -oh, I'm so lucky to have anyone, as most volunteers are hard to get much less have them be productive. So I'll use alot of my extra time because I do not have the right help. I'll take it all on! (Picture yourself jumping into a phone booth to change into your Superman outfit to meet the next superchallenge and rescue the situation!!!)
The road to hell for managers is paved with "nice, well-meaning people" who take energy rather than providing a net benefit.
(Action: List who isn't being productive, rating as hopeless, marginal, pretty bad but some benefit, etc. and then decide who to shift.
Write out a few kind, politie ways to say that you appreciate their willingness but see that it may not be something they have time for or give enough importance to or have too many conflicts with.
THE COST OF NOT CONFRONTING
Big cost for me. I didn't want to be mean. I wanted to be seen (especially to myself) as an enlightened employer, kind to his people, understanding.
But there was Belinda who ended up with the same attitude toward me as she had to her previous employer (and I was determined to be a better employer, be kind, and have her be productive). But she ended up being critical and actually having another employee sit in her office with the door closed (almost always a bad sign) complaining together - called Third Partying another. The cost of not wanting to go through the hassle of replacing her was enormous for me, as it made my job harder and less tolerable - and it was a factor in my finally calling it quits and retiring.
I "shoulda" sat down with her, in discomfort, and ask what is going on and ask if she is up to the job, including avoiding all undermining by complaining (and only be a solution seeker).
BUT THERE MUST BE CLEAR STANDARDS, CLEAR BOUNDARIES...OR ELSE!
Without clear standards and/or clear boundaries, things get fuzzy and we are less able to decide what to do - we essentially suffer by floating in life in The Drift.
THE SAGA OF MY GARDENER
I could see that he had very few insights into how to be a gardener and that he was more stuck in the "mow and blow" category. But I toyed with the idea of working out a plan for him to become really good at what he does. (Was I smokin' pot? No...I have no excuse for my illusionary thoughts.)
The time and concern and the loss of plants wasn't worth it...