The situation is a follows: I work as a senior consultant for customer projects (in Germany).
Currently is one junior colleague (mainly) working with me on some projects for which I am responsible, and I am very unhappy with her performance in these projects - I know that she can deliver better work. I personally believe that a systematic approach to this problem on the level of my (and her) boss could make her performing well again.
Now here is the problem: My (and her) boss drops the responsibility to have this very crucial conversation to me (already for the second time). It is not in my formal role (i have no disciplinary power), would be happening per phone (she is off-site), it is not within my power (since I can not approve trainings) to make any binding arrangement with her how we address the issues. The last time that such issues were not resolved it resulted in the person leaving the company.
I will have this conversation, and my list of priorities is as follows:
- not violating German working law - since i should not evaluate her performance in general
- seeking for an constructive (keeping the colleague in the company) solution - that is, explain her the urgency of the situation
- not damaging my work relationship with her (any further)
- not giving the impression to my boss that i reject this responsibility.
So where is the line, which i should not cross?
- Is it ok to mention to her that my impression is that there may be consequences for her career if it's not getting better?
- Should i mention that i think that some of her slip-ups are health-related (she may be not aware of the connection between a condition which she has and some some of the problems)
Edit (here is what i did) - i partially followed the suggestions here and did not discuss anything beyond my own projects: I had the call with her, but i clearly focused on a single piece of work in one of the projects where actually all her problems (Quality, Speed, Feedback, Communication) related to a single project in my hands. I mention to her that we discussed this topic on the last project (which is true) where we worked together. She said she understood this opinion. I asked her to think about how to improve this. I also did not transfer her any new piece of work in any other project for the next 2 months (timing of her holidays prevents an effective transfer of tasks). I will give feedback to my boss who will have to decide how to deal further with this situation.