Managing a problem
Do the preparation task first. Then read the text and do the exercises.
From: Jo Backhouse
To: Karl Anderson
Date: 17 October
Subject: Support for Judy
I received a call from Judy a couple of days ago to discuss some of the issues that she was having and I thought I'd give you a heads-up on what was said, seeing that you are Judy's project team leader.
Judy really enjoys working with you and the team and finds the project very interesting, but I think she's feeling a bit lost and struggling to see the big picture. It seems that she's been given a fair amount of autonomy to carry out the tasks that you've given her, and of course this level of delegation is not uncommon in your branch. But I believe in her Tokyo office, she is used to a bit more managerial direction and guidance and so is finding this international project quite daunting.
When I asked her about meeting her deadlines, she mentioned that due to the recent changes to the project timeline, her goalposts have been moved, and she doesn't seem to really understand why this has happened. Bearing in mind that she's also facing simultaneous deadlines from her department in Tokyo, we can presume that she might be feeling a bit stretched.
Looking ahead, I was wondering if we could make it easier for Judy by offering her more direction when setting her tasks, at least until she learns the ropes and gets used to working unsupervised. I think she'd also appreciate you giving her a clearer idea on how her role in the team fits into the overview of things. Do you think you could maybe outline the group and individual targets at your next team meeting and that way, everyone not only gets a reminder of the end goal, but each team member, including Judy, might have a more holistic view of the whole project?
I was also thinking it might help to touch base with her every so often to make sure that she's up to date with any changes to the overall plan of attack. In the meantime, I'll write to her manager in the Tokyo office and see how aware they are of the deadlines you've given her, and if they could in some way review her responsibilities and co-ordinate her tasks so that she doesn't constantly feel pulled in both directions.
Judy is an extremely conscientious worker and is eager to contribute positively to the team. Personally, I think she is someone with high potential and will be an asset to our international projects if properly mentored. I'm keen to know your thoughts on the matter and am open to any suggestions on how we could better support Judy so that she has a more smooth-sailing experience on the team.
Head of Department