I'm a new manager who's getting extremely frustrated and stressed because of a team member:
- he used to work quite independently before I came, but team's results were bad so my predecessor was fired and I hired
- At first I left him a lot of freedom, just discussing some optimization potentials and facilitating him. This brought nothing and he presented me the same status during our weeklies. So after around 6 weeks I had to change my approach into: "Let's discuss your tasks for next week" and "Let's discuss what you've done last week". The reaction was very negative.
- Now he hardly does anything. He gets tasks but ignores them or tells me he's done and then at the first sight it's visible he isn't and the results aren't usable.
- The whole situation is very stressful for me. I'm new at the company. HR has the attitude "let's wait and see what happens" and I have goals which I will probably miss because of him.
- I know the team member is looking for a new job but given he's overpaid at the current position the probability he will quit soon is very low.
- He's been complaining he's not interested in what our department does. So we offered him a different position within our org, one more aligned with his goals, but he turned it down, possibly because he would have to accept a pay cut.
Currently I spend a lot of time aligning with him on tasks and how to perform them, which he then ignores or solves in such a superficial way that it would be faster for me to do them from scratch. Rounds of feedback don't help. It's a huge time investment from me, which doesn't pay. He always has a lot of excuses ("I didn't know how to do x" - ok, but then he should have found out or at least signaled problems).
What stance should I take here to decrease his impact as far as possible?
I actually followed some of your advice before I got it here. E.g. I started to document everything. But your advice led me to send an email like this yesterday:
"Hey Paul, I hope you're doing great. I would like to ask you again about this [task] we discussed during our 1:1 on July the 11th. As you know you reported you had completed that on the next day. We then discovered you didn't. You then told me you completed it 3 days later. 2 days ago I was sitting in a meeting with our colleagues from [country] and wanted to show them the [task done]. While doing that I discovered that it wasn't done actually. So I wrote you an email (attached). I haven't got an answer so here I come again: could you give me some update please? If you have any problems, please let me know and I will try to help, but otherwise we can't take so long to solve such issues. Especially if you report that sth has been done I would like to be able to believe it really has".
I sent it to both him and HR.
Can you please do me a short reality check? Is the email rude? HR told me today I come pushy, forceful and impolite in the emails.