The Employee Who Starts Before Thinking


One thing all managers agree on is that ‘eagerness’ and ‘positive attitude’ are among the most valuable characteristics to have in an employee. Occasionally, however, you can find yourself with an employee who’s perhaps just a little too eager. This is the employee who’s so anxious to get things done, that he (she) doesn’t take the time to fully think through a project or task. The consequence is that he can end up struggling, or failing to do the job well.

So, how do you hold back that employee who wants to go full steam ahead? The last thing you want to do is discourage or demotivate him.

The best approach is to break the initial stages of a task or project into very tightly controlled deliverables. So, for example, instead of saying, “I want you to prepare a productivity report for me for the last quarter,” say “I want you to prepare a productivity report for me for the last quarter, but first show me an outline of how you are thinking of preparing it, so we can make sure we’re on the right track.”

This gets your employee thinking about the entire project, but only taking action on the very front end of it. It gives you a point of reference for discussion and conversation like, “Okay, now that you’ve done this, where do we go from here?” This will teach them how to work his way through increasingly complex projects.

One thing is for sure – you want to be extremely careful about how you treat this individual. Enthusiasm is a very rare and precious workplace commodity. You don’t ever want to risk losing it.

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