You took the time to clearly lay out the assignment. You confirmed with your team member the process they would use to accomplish it. They agreed that the time frame was good and that they had the skills and tools they needed to get it done.
But when they deliver it to you, you are disappointed. It’s just not great work! You expected a lot better, and you really believe they are capable of it.
Now, what do you do? You don’t want to have a big back and forth about the quality of this work, but you can’t send it to the client like this…
I’ve got a simple sentence that will turn this situation around for you.
You don’t have to get your shorts all in a knot, just plan a time to review the project with your team member and start the conversation off with one sentence.
“Is this your best work?”
If the team member responds that it is *not* their best work you send them back to their desk with a new deadline to bring back this assignment as an example of their best work. Then when they come back with the rewrite you have a conversation about how you always want their best work.
If the team member responds that it *is* their best work you’ve got a decision to make. If this is their best work, and it’s not good enough then you’ve got to think long and hard about their future with your business, right? The question is, do they have the ability to do better? Do they need training, experience or just a push to improve? Or is this the best it’s going to get?
Reviewing the project with them and helping them to see where it falls short might help you to diagnose this. Are they seeing the shortfalls, or are they making excuses and arguing with you? If they see their shortfalls, send them back to try it again. If they are making excuses make plans to release them to opportunities in other organizations! (Yes, I’m telling you to start the process to fire them.)
I’m not advocating firing someone who has made *one* mistake. Anyone can have a bad day. But if this is a persistent pattern, and you have looked back and made sure that you did a good job in making the assignments, giving them training, and enough time to complete it…then you’ve got to move on.
If you make this a habit you will find folks bringing things to you that are much more polished than they have in the past. They will be shooting to impress, not just to do the minimum.
All without a lot of drama or a big confrontation!
Give it a try and let me know how it’s going. If you need some extra help with this, I go into more detail in this post