Beth Barrow

Dear Gabby dispenses opinions to managers who are wrangling performance issues. If you have a scenario for Dear Gabby, contact Lisa Finger.

Dear Gabby,

Ed, a writer in my group, went on leave, and I was left to manage his projects until I could find a temporary replacement. Once he left, his project teams started bringing up problems with his performance that I hadn’t been aware of before. I learned that he’d been ignoring new projects and that the project teams felt that the deadlines for his in-flight projects were not clear. He was also perceived to have a very negative attitude. I discovered quickly that his project teams were very dissatisfied with his performance and were now taking out their frustrations on the rest of the group.

I knew that Ed was having some personal problems, but I had no idea that they were impacting his productivity or other teams’ perceptions of my group. My management is pushing aggressive performance management when he returns, but I’m not sure that I want to have him come back to such a negative reaction.

What do you suggest I do?

Perplexed in Pennsylvania


Tell us what you think!

What would you have Perplexed do?

  1. Start a performance improvement plan as soon as the person returns to work.
  2. Look at the job match and tweak his responsibilities accordingly.
  3. Coach him on what happened while he was away and let him resume his responsibilities.

Please let us know how you would handle this situation. Send an email with your choice from above or any other comments or suggestions you have.