I'm a new manager. My predecessor was let go, the management wasn't happy with him.
There's this one colleague in the team I manage, whose productivity is low and whom I need to repeat many times for him to do his tasks and who always finds all kind of excuses not to.
Using the convention from Ask a manager, we are a llama management company. He used to be responsible for just one small step of llama management, llama combing. This position doesn't exist as an independent position at any company I know. It's too specialized. It's like having a cook, whose sole responsibility is buttering the bread. The demand for llama combing at our company is low so he used to have a really relaxed job with a lot of free time. Even my predecessor admitted that.
Some time ago, I asked him to take over a bit more of llama grooming activities from other team members. At first, he was very optimistic and told me he was happy to.
The problem is: he doesn't do that.
I ask him on Monday to please groom two llamas this week apart from his llama combing activities (if I don't ask him, he won't do that at all, although he knows that's his job now). He tells me all kind of excuses:
- "Llama combing will definitely take me at least 3 full days this week" (it won't, unless his work organization is horrible),
- "Some problems with llama combing may come up and I won't be able to take on any llama grooming at all, so if I were you, I wouldn't hope I will do much this week" (something can indeed come up, but something small comes up every week and we need to incorporate it in our work; if something huge comes up we can discuss it and adjust priorities if needed).
I did ask him about reasons for this attitude, but got no response apart from assertions he has no time and inability to explain why.
It's not about skills: llama grooming is not difficult and we have a good support network - can get some coaching easily. He knows that.
I don't want to lose him, but I'm at a loss about how to motivate him. What is the way to go here?