I'm in the position of overseeing the work of several "interns" who perform to widely varying standards. While all do specific tasks assigned to them in a timely and high quality manner, some are a lot more useful than others. The good ones are capable of taking an abstract task and defining specific things they need to do in order for it to get done. These are also the ones who give their own opinions and improvements to the table, and show a lot more engagement.
Now, I'm trying to coax the "other half" to behave similarly, but am not quite sure what the best method is. Initially I have tried to set clear goals, and evaluation criteria which reflect this requirement. As best I can, given that requirements for projects change, some items turn out unfeasible and so forth.
Today I had a discussion with one of the ones whom I'd like improve directly addressing my concerns. He generally agreed and reminded me that this is his first real-world professional experience. However it is too early to say whether this discussion will bring about any behavioral change.
I'd like to know if this approach is OK (directly addressing the issue in a short meeting), and if there is a better way?
I believe it would be beneficial for everybody involved if these interns became more proactive and independent but short of challenging them and telling them where they are on the wrong path I don't have good ideas to bring about this behavioral change.