I'm starting to think one of my staff is heading down the PD route. She can't seem to prioritize her work correctly. She works hard, gets lots done, but somehow she manages to ignore the really important things such as when myself or my boss (the CEO) send her important tasks or even simple questions, or where she has unhappy clients etc. She'll offer to help other staff and take over basic tasks from them even when she has emails from us outstanding or things I've asked her to do that she hasn't done. So while she's working, she's ignoring the work she *should* be doing! I've spoken to her so many times about this but it doesn't seem to sink in. I feel I have to start micromanaging her more and more to get her focused on the right tasks.
Example of the kind of thing that happens:
1. Something goes wrong over the weekend at one of our jobsites, "Kate" should have followed up Monday to let the client know, but made a mistake and forgot (that's ok, it happens)
2. On Tuesday morning the client emails her asking what happened on Saturday and why she (the client) hadn't been notified about it. The client cc's our CEO which indicates she thinks it's a Big Deal.
3. Two hours later I notice Kate still hasn't replied or done anything with the email from the client. I forward it on to her and remind her that it's super urgent, and also clearly note how she should handle it. No response.
4. In the afternoon I'm in meeting and I call Kate and ask if she's replied yet. She says no. I explain that it's crucial she replies to the client by COB, and give her very clear, step-by-step instructions as to what to put in the email (basically just answering the questions the client had asked!). I confirm she understands, I repeat back.
Did it happen? Nope. I ask why, she says "Oh Nancy emailed <client> because she was working on XYZ". I look at what Nancy (who works in another department) has emailed to the client - it's not a reply to the client's email, and includes none of what I asked Kate to put in the email. < face palm >. These are not difficult instructions by the way. We're talking about a basic response to questions e.g. "I apologise for not notifying you on Monday, it was an oversight. What happened on Saturday was _________." Not hard! And it's the tiny things like that e.g. communicating well that keep a client happy!
This is just one example - and it's one where I was micromanaging the situation (which I hate having to do!) to avoid it happening. The sad part is that I think it's because she overthinks the big things - she is so concerned about getting them right she leaves them sitting there and mulls them over, instead of just getting them done. Unfortunately at some point soon I'll have to start performance managing her for this as it's driving our CEO crazy - the other day she emailed a request to Kate saying "Can you please confirm for me what you did about XYZ, please reply by X day as I need to let <important client> know" and gets NO response to that or her follow-ups, even when I was also verbally reminding Kate too that she needed to reply to the CEO's email. It makes me sad, because Kate is lovely and despite all of the above she is very capable, she just seems to be missing a very important point - doing what your boss and the company want you to do is the most important part of doing your job, not flitting around doing whatever YOU think needs doing!