Program manager helps an employee go from problem child to princess
I interview managers in agencies providing supports for people with intellectual disabilities whenever I can.
Christy is one of the managers I interviewed recently. I asked Christy if she had a great example of helping someone go from very poor performance to really great performance on the job. She thought about it for a while, then exclaimed “oh my god yes!”
Loren was super negative. Nobody wanted to work with her. Loren was on her last legs as a direct support worker in a fairly traditional 3 person 24/7 high needs residence. The other employees in her house wanted her gone. Loren was very high energy and came across as very negative and constantly critical of others.
During a reshuffling in the organization Christy saw the opportunity to move Loren out of the house role and into a much different one. In this new role, Loren made no more money, but was more independent. In her new role her high standards could only be applied to herself. This made all the difference in the world. Loren went from dragging her co-workers down, to moving ahead a new program incredibly well. It turns out she was very frustrated by working in a low change, steady state, environment where her ideas, high standards, energy and desire to make things better was not appreciated and often did more harm than good. In her new role she got along much better with others, Christy thinks because Loren now felt good at something and appreciated for who she was.
This could easily have turned out differently if Christy had not seen the potential in Loren and taken a chance. It turns out that what was a weakness in one role was a strength in another.
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