Leader Volume 8, Number 10
One of my staff
members is exceptionally bright.
He’s also a “character.” Because of him, we’ve
gotten out of all kinds of problems.
He works ten hours a day during the week, and works part of
most weekends. I
consider Lou to be the most valuable person on my team.
But Lou has also caused me some serious trouble.
You see, Lou can
never bring himself to admit that something isn’t working.
Because he is so clever, I give him the toughest
problem is that he never admits it when he’s stumped.
Therefore, I usually have no idea if the project he is
working on is, or isn’t, going well.
In response to asking him how things are going, he answers
with “Just fine!” “Are
you sure?” “Yes.”
“When will it be solved?”
If he is having
problems, it would be nice if he would tell me.
Then, I would assign someone to help him, or direct Lou to
a potentially useful resource.
It’s just that I never know the fate of his project; that
is, until it is solved. Sometimes
he can’t solve the challenge.
That makes it difficult for me to plan.
Also, my supervisor becomes frustrated and angry when I
can’t tell him if we’re close to, or far from, the solution.
Lou likes to work
by himself, and dislikes working with other people. He’s just that way, and gets all in a tizzy when other
people are involved. Then
he’s worthless. I’ve
spoken to him on many occasions, but he’s sticking to his
personality, which he claims he can’t change.
a few years ago, I evaluated the net value of Lou, and determined
that his contributions were so great that they offset his
eccentricities. I am willing to take the burden--and it is a burden--of not
really knowing the status of his project.
Would you want to
manage a person like Lou? Would
you want him in your group even if it’s clear that the gain in
creative potential would offset the burden?
Or is creativity not really that important a factor?