RE: Troublesome Writers

Subject: RE: Troublesome Writers
From: "Thomas Quine" <quinet -at- home -dot- com>
To: "TECHWR-L" <techwr-l -at- lists -dot- raycomm -dot- com>
Date: Thu, 14 Dec 2000 05:58:19 -0800

Bottom line for me is, "Is this writer a good team player?" If not, I
discuss it with them. If they don't turn it around, I fire them, and have
done so in the past.
I strongly believe technical writing is a team sport, and in fact pretty
much everything in high-tech is team-oriented. You can't play on the team,
then go play by yourself.
Take a look at everyone you've ever known who was fired. In my experience,
the problem can almost always be traced to a character flaw - usually a
failure to "get along".
I've learned that professional courtesy is the single greatest factor in
success in the corporate world - actually in life. "There is no outward mark
of courtesy that does not have a deep basis in morality." - Goethe
If the person is well-motivated, works hard, has a helpful and cooperative
attitude, you can turn around almost any performance issue through training,
mentoring, or coaching. Turning around someone's character flaw is a lot
tougher. Sometimes the "short, sharp shock" of getting fired does the trick.
If not, they'll eventually find a niche where their flaws are not an
impediment to their working life, and my humble opinion is that the
responsibility of the manager is to help them get there as soon as
possible - to help them "get on with their careers", so to speak.
Speaking as an ordinary mortal, and thus deeply flawed myself...
- Thom

-----Original Message-----
From: bounce-techwr-l-20657 -at- lists -dot- raycomm -dot- com
[mailto:bounce-techwr-l-20657 -at- lists -dot- raycomm -dot- com] On Behalf Of Andrew Plato
Sent: December 13, 2000 5:11 PM
Subject: Troublesome Writers

Okay, lets try a new topic. How to handle troublesome writers.

Yesterday I was thinking about this writer who worked at our firm a few
back and what a pain she was. No matter what I asked her to do, she always
off and did something else. She was always fighting with me over every
sentence. It was a never-ending struggle to edit her documents.

She finally left the company and things got back to normal. But I never felt
like I really dealt with that very well.

So, what do you think? How do you deal with a writer who just won't frickin'
get on the program. Who fights over edits, ignores direct orders, writes
documents that are not needed or wanted, uses tools that aren't appropriate.

I am a little torn on this because I am a big "responsibility,
and authority" person. I expect people to get the job done and I don't
care how they get it done. If the end product is quality - who cares what
or methods are used. But, when that person then becomes snide about any
criticism to their work. It sometimes seems that too much freedom can be a
thing. Free-agent types think they have all the answers and aren't willing
listen to authority.

I think that's me!

Andrew Plato

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