Week1.2: It starts

After posting my first article last week I realised that I should be numbering these posts at the end of the week, not at the start. So, this is Week 1.2, Week 2 will be published at the end of next week, and then we’ll be on track.

So how did Week 1 go? It was chaotic and hectic and it went incredibly fast. I feel like we should have completed more work, but there wasn’t really any time when people weren’t working their hardest.

I have one person in my team who is already shaping up to be a challenge. I’d been given the heads up by my predecessor, and as she has the desk next to me I knew she wasn’t going to be a walk in the park to manage. Two days in I had to talk to her about a document that she had certified incorrectly. She is always complaining about others incorrectly certifying things so I was a little surprised when she certified something that could just plainly not be read. I took it to her and asked her what it said, and when she couldn’t read it asked why had she certified it if she couldn’t read it. She didn’t have an answer so I just reminded her how important it is that this information is correct, especially because of what this means with the new systems. She listened to all this, but I’m not at all confident that she won’t do something similar again.

I have another team member who I had expected would be difficult because of how vocal she was about not liking the new system and that she didn’t understand it. During training I found that she did understand it and was able to do everything required of her, it was just she didn’t think she could. One of the reasons she was worried about the new system was because it replaced her previous day to day tasks and she felt like she wouldn’t have anything to do. We’ve kept her busy with myriad small tasks — updates, change of details, opening new accounts — and she seems to be enjoying the variety. Any small task that comes along that that isn’t too complex I give to her, and she’s becoming quite a useful asset. She still refuses to make outbound calls, so I’m somewhat limited in what tasks I can give her, but so far it’s working out. Her refusal to make calls is an issue that is going to have to be addressed down the line though.

The more complex tasks that I need someone else to do I’ve been throwing to S, who I think I will use as my 2IC. She has a lot of knowledge, but hasn’t really progressed anywhere because she lacks motivation. If you ask her to do something she’ll do it, but there’s not really any initiative or desire to go beyond the bare minimum. It has to be her though, because the only other options are T, who lacks the people skills, or K, who has a very narrow focus and tends to get stuck on certain aspects of problem. I’m forcing myself to use K more, because S does tend to get overwhelmed if I put too much on her, and also because K also does work for the The Brain’s team. If I leave her to her own devices she will just do his work and not mine, I need her to be doing mine as a priority. The Brain won’t say anything to her because he wants her in his team full time.

There wasn’t a lot of time in week 1 for anything but dealing with the most critical issues. This week my goals are to make sure all the less critical things I’ve pushed aside are given proper attention, to build some kind of routine into my day, and to make sure everyone knows what their priority tasks are without needing to ask me what to do next all the time.