Leading difficult people: Disorganized Debbie

Do you know anyone who’s always busy but never seems to get anything done? Maybe this person works for you. How do you lead someone who’s motivated and a doer, but still doesn’t contribute any meaningful results?

Meet Disorganized Debbie. She works hard and wants to succeed. Unfortunately, she looks like a rocking horse: always in motion, but never moving forward. Debbie can’t or won’t organize her work, which means she can’t achieve what she needs to for your organization.

We’ve been spending the past few weeks talking about leading difficult people. You can click the names to read about Fearful Fred, Slumped Susan, and Excited Eddie. Now let’s discuss how to understand, listen to, and lead Disorganized Debbie.

Understanding Disorganized Debbie:

  1. Behavior: Unfocused
  2. Motivated by: Direction
  3. Strength: Relational Connection
  4. Weakness: Disorganization

Listening to Disorganized Debbie:

  1. Privately sit down and discuss Debbie’s disorganization.
  2. Listen to her frustrations.
  3. Examine her mess.
  4. Determine whether she wants to get organized.

Leading Disorganized Debbie:

  1. Give her a lot of personal attention.
  2. Ask her to show you her to-do list.
  3. Help her organize tasks by priorities.
  4. Teach her time management.
  5. Monitor her progress often.
  6. Leave no room for options or uncertainty.

Growth Plan:

Help her establish a planning system (eg: Franklin Planner, DayTimer or to-do list app)

Do you lead a Disorganized Debbie? Or do you struggle with priorities and organization yourself? Debbie can only change if she wants to, but if she learns how to prioritize and keep up with all of her tasks, she can become an extremely energetic and effective employee.

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