Re: Plays well with others

Subject: Re: Plays well with others
From: Andrew Plato <intrepid_es -at- yahoo -dot- com>
To: "TECHWR-L" <techwr-l -at- lists -dot- raycomm -dot- com>
Date: Thu, 29 Mar 2001 09:39:29 -0800 (PST)

Aren't you lucky Lief. I know some monkeys you can hire. All they'll do is
throw their feces when their unhappy.

"Lief Erickson" wrote...

> How do you follow-up with your staff to ensure that they're completing the
> work assigned?

Have an task plan with deadlines and assignments. Make sure the plan is public
so everybody can see it. Make it known that missing a deadline is not

> How do you deal with people who are constantly grumpy and generally have a
> bad disposition?

These people probably are just lazy and don't want to work. It takes to much
effort for them to get their work done correctly and they are used to others
covering for them. Stop covering for them.

Its normal for people to have bad days or be out of it sometimes. But there is
no excuse for permanent grumpiness. Some people honestly think the world owes
them something and they have a right to take out their frustrations on the rest
of us. These people deserve whatever negative energy comes to them because all
they put off is negative energy.

I'm sorry if you hate your job or life. But that is nobody's fault but your

> How would you go about teaching/training a new technical writer? Or is it
> something that they must pick up on there own?

Depends on the environment. I always felt remote/SOHO writers should be
required to handle their own training. If they want to work at home, fine. But
its their problem to stay up-to-speed on the technologies.

As for local folks, see my next comment.

> How would you deal with Sally and James?

I recently had a situation with a writer similar to Sally. We sat down and
discussed the problem frankly and honestly. I said I was not happy with the
quality of her work, her attitude at work, and she needed to improve. She
started blaming our client for bad stuff. I replied "I don't play the blame
game. This isn't a discussion about who we can blame for a project going bad.
This is a discussion about YOUR work and YOUR capabilities."

We outlined a plan to help her improve her work, including working with the
product and getting training in the technologies. Part of the plan was also a
simple ultimatum: she needed to improve your work if she wanted to remain
employed. We set a deadline. She had 6 weeks to improve her work. Its been 4
weeks and she has made tremendous improvement.

I know it sounds mean and a little Draconian, but the fact is people have to
see that their laziness and unprofesionalism has repercussions.

Also, NEVER allow people to slip into the "blame game". Lazy, ineffectual
people adore blaming others for their failings. You have to snip that off
before it grows. If you don't, before you know it, that person will have
justified every single one of her bad behaviors as attributable to somebody

And don't let people tell you that their blaming is really just "analysis".
Morons do that all the time, try to tell you that their stupidity is the cause
of poor "analysis." Yeah, right.

Put Sally on the line and if she doesn't improve, fire her.

Andrew Plato

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