I'm a manager at a small company. My team maintains product and marketing data. One of my team members, a graphic designer named Amelia, is an increasing source of consternation.
Amelia has several positive qualities: she's talented at graphic design, invariably punctual, eager to please, glad to be part of the team, and generally agreeable. She's worked here for three years, and I believe intends to remain with the company indefinitely.
Unfortunately, Amelia is the least intuitive person I've ever met. If a task is simple and straightforward, she executes it quickly and without error. But if a task requires any degree of intuition, her output is substandard or not at all what was expected. For examples, in the past month, Amelia:
- ... gathered the wrong data for thousands of products, despite the context of the task making it clear what type of data was needed.
- ... ruined the packaging on several products during a photography task, apparently not thinking or realizing that these would be shipped to customers.
- ... botched a week-long HTML editing task which she apparently did not understand, although I took great pains to explain it clearly, and provide resources, and give her abundance of time.
- ... continually deleted all of her sent emails, despite being told in the past to preserve emails for record-keeping; she thought the don't-delete-your-emails rule only applied to one's inbox.
Regardless of the type of task, she will 'miss' something. She just doesn't get it. I don't know another way to describe it. These are all the mistakes of a brand new employee, not a three-year veteran.
I've taken steps to meet Amelia halfway: I moved her desk next to mine so that she could ask questions more easily, and I endeavored to provide especially-detailed task descriptions. But that was a year ago, and I have not seen much improvement.
I spoke with my supervisor about this problem. My supervisor has worked with Amelia on a handful of past projects, and agreed 100% with my assessment of her startling lack of intuition. Amelia was apparently pulled off past tasks for small mistakes and inadequate understanding. This mirrors my own management of Amelia, as I've continually narrowed her responsibilities in response to mistakes and incomprehension.
This problem is cresting. Management is assigning me larger, more complex projects, and is instructing me to delegate more to my team. I need to micromanage less, and Amelia requires micromanagement. I don't trust her to work independently, nor did my supervisor, and so her future on my team (and at the company) is in doubt.
How should a manager handle an employee with no intuition? Is that sometimes grounds for reassignment and/or termination in and of itself?