Learn what are your employees strengths and weaknesses and play with it
Co-founder and CTO at Newfront
"I gave one of my new engineers quite a big task, that would take him a few days to accomplish. It was the first time he had been assigned a task like this, and I made sure that it was pretty well defined. However, after a week, he hadn't started coding. He had also renamed the objective in the task management software from 'Doing Task X' to 'Digging around before starting Task X'. I was a bit concerned about the progress of the project, and about his abilities to work efficiently."
"I sat down with him and told him about my concerns. I had thought that this project was pretty contained and that he would have finished it within a week. By talking to him, I realized that he was focused on the design of the solution and that he was thinking about it at a conceptual level too much. I understood that he was the type of engineer who loves understanding a problem from its first principles, and who's not as motivated by the execution of a solution. I had to refocus him on this particular project and further explain my expectations, and he managed to get the work done properly. From then on, I made sure to give him tasks, when available, which required an engineer to dig deeper."
"I think that things went well after talking with him, in part, because I tried to understand his motivations at work and to adapt, instead of accusing him of underperformance. Having regular one-on-ones with him helped me to take the time to solve this problem properly. The main takeaway I gained from this story is that as a manager, you have to learn your employees' strengths and weaknesses and make sure you play to their strengths."
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