A good performer who lost passion for his company

Michael Marano

Technical Director, Office of the CTO at Google



A very good performer in my company, who had worked on several projects and had been in many roles, started to progressively lose his passion for the project he was working on. Part of the reason for this was that some strategic decisions had been made at an executive level and they had impacted the project we were working on. The engineer showed less drive and passion for the new project and needed a new challenge. Another part of the reason for his lack of passion was that he was experiencing personal problems outside of work that contributed to his lack of focus.

Actions taken

I decided to make the engineer a lead on a new project, in order to motivate him, and also because I needed his historical knowledge of the product. I gave him some time to step-up and drive his team, but after a couple of months it was obvious that he didn't meet the bar. His team couldn't rely on him and nobody was getting what they needed out of him. I had a hard conversation with him and asked him whether he was willing to take responsibility as a lead, or whether he was not committed anymore. Since I was aware of his personal situation, I gave him some time to think about it and to improve. After the holidays, he came to me and admitted that he needed a new challenge so had decided to leave.

Lessons learned

The engineer had a hard time making a decision, even though he had already made it unconsciously. I wish I had pushed him harder to make a decision because it would have been better for the team and for him. What's more, knowing that he was already in a complicated situation, I wish I hadn't given him more responsibility, as this turned out to be a bad decision.

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Michael Marano

Technical Director, Office of the CTO at Google

Leadership DevelopmentDecision MakingEngineering ManagementTechnical ExpertiseCareer GrowthCareer ProgressionIndividual Contributor RolesTech LeadLeadership RolesTeam & Project Management

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