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I am a technical lead for a team of consultants. We have a colleague who joined 1.5 years ago and has severe performance and some disciplinary problems. This employee has also a conflict with me - he very often blames other people (mostly me, but also customers or other colleagues) for his failures/performance, even if he did not accept help constructively before.

The problem for me is that conversations between him and our common manager (I am not present in all) circle around the formal disciplinary problems and shifting the blame instead of addressing the issue that he is just not skilled enough for the job, and not as good as can be expected for his education and background.

So what should I (as a technical lead) do to stimulate this needed discussion between them?

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Your manager addressing the disciplinary problems first is a good thing and it will enable you to address the technical problems yourself.

Having a team member with some skills lacking but the right attitude is much easier to rectify than having a skilled person with a poisonous attitude, and in the worst case he doesn't add value, but he won't bring the team down.

So I think it is a good strategy of your manager, to address disciplinary problems at first, assuming he wants to give the employee a chance to keep his job.

As a technical lead, you can address the technical issues yourself and give your manager advise on what trainings might help. Give actionable feedback with specific examples about the most urgent improvement points of the team member and suggest SMART goals for improvement.

Depending on your position in the company you might do that either directly with the employee who is willing to improve, or suggest the improvement point to your common manager.

If the employee shows the right attitude he will accept clear evidence about an improvement point and will have an interest to improve.

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