I work in IT Audit and am currently mentoring a team member whom I hope to be my eventual successor as I move upward into a lead / supervisory position in my department. He shows great technical skills and is a hard worker, someone who can be relied upon to get the work done. His analytical ability and theoretical knowledge are excellent, a point I frequently compliment.
However, during the months I have worked with him, I noticed he tends to be excessively conflict avoidant and meek. To give an example, I was reviewing his work papers on BCP / DRP testing, and he accepted management's feedback at face value, retracting his observations that are objectively valid and would improve the IT response during a disaster.
In another example, controls over IT operations (Backup & restore, data processing among others) are weak and valid findings were found. Two examples:
- Inconsistent backup testing contrary to policy
- Inadequate SoD - operations personnel with access to system logs
When questions arose from management, this team member starts to waver, losing confidence. The end recommendation made could be stronger and hence probability of corrective action taken greater.
In my guidance, I simply said to follow through with management and communicate what you found. I felt this guidance was reasonable, but apparently not so. I hate to dictate to the letter exactly how to do his job. I am starting to think perhaps more handholding would be beneficial.
How can I convince him to be more assertive and not back down when challenged?
Today I had this coworker shadow me for as I and my manager had a meeting with IT management, over inconsistencies in user account provisioning. I told this coworker to observe what I said, and how I acted in the meeting. Tomorrow I plan to speaking to him about his experience.