About 6 months ago we hired a developer that came straight from university. He's smart, works hard and seems to create quality code. The first couple of months I acted as a buffer between management and him, he still had to learn a lot of business related logic, frameworks we use,... I went easy on him, and I clearly communicated that the workload would ramp up once he knew the business and the required technologies. We work on a financial automation tool for a fast-paced large business that has to reduce a team of 18 bookkeepers to 2 or 3 people
Now, the moment has come, the workload ramped up, I took some distance to see how he performs under tight deadlines, a lot of work and meetings with the management. After about two weeks I saw him change, not positively, he still works hard, but I see mistakes happening all the time. Deadlines he set for himself are not met and the overall quality of his code suffers. He seems stressed out, can't think clearly and seems to forget a lot of things. A part of this is that he often stays late in the office, starting early and only going home after 10 p.m. multiple times a week. We all know how counterproductive this can be, working long days often produces less quality in work than taking your time and spreading your work over multiple days.
Yesterday we had a meeting about a new feature that was needed ASAP. He will be working on this feature, so I wanted him at that meeting. I clearly communicated to not overrule me in time estimations or decisions I make during this meeting, as I know what the management expects and how to approach them. When the estimation of development time of the MVP came up I made clear that it was not easy and we will need some time to research before I could make a definitive estimation. He overruled this by telling the management that it could be done in 2 days with all the bells and whistles. I was furious, with his statement he not only undermined my authority and gave the management wrong information that set wrong expectations and could harm the product, but he also choked the whole team by setting a deadline that is way to short. (FYI: Harming the product can cost thousands of dollars in lost revenue, corrupt invoices, TAX issues,... in a matter of hours in case of little mistakes)
After a phone call with the CEO explaining what was going on, I managed to extend this deadline. But I also was told I am responsible for my team and situations like this are not acceptable.
How can I handle an employee that can work hard but cannot make proper decisions and time estimations, that seems stressed out by the workload and the fast-paced nature of the business we work in. I want him to work less, but be productive more. I can see him walk into a burnout in no time if things keep going as they are now.
I have to admit that there are only a few I have worked with in the past that can keep up in this company. I've seen many come and go. The ones that do manage are all brilliant, smart, hard-working people. I do see potential in this developer, thus I really want to help him grow in this company. There is room for building a more than average career here and I want him to succeed. (He made clear he also wants this)