Working with someone who is highly skilled but unstructured can be challenging, but it’s not impossible. Here are some strategies to effectively collaborate with such individuals:
Open Communication: Initiate a candid conversation with the individual to understand their work style and preferences. Express your concerns about their lack of structure and discuss how you can work together more effectively.
Set Clear Expectations: Clearly define goals, objectives, and deadlines for projects. Make sure the highly skilled person understands the importance of meeting these expectations, even if they need to adjust their work habits to do so.
Create a Framework: Help them establish a basic framework or project plan. It doesn’t need to be overly rigid, but having a rough outline can provide guidance and structure to their work.
Regular Check-Ins: Schedule regular check-in meetings to review progress and address any issues. These meetings can serve as touchpoints for them to stay on track and for you to provide guidance or support.
Prioritize Tasks: Work together to prioritize tasks and projects. Identify what needs to be done first and what can wait. This can help them focus on what’s most important.
Offer Tools and Resources: Provide tools, resources, or training that can help them become more organized and structured in their work. This could include project management software, time management techniques, or training in task prioritization.
Delegate Responsibilities: Assign specific responsibilities or sub-tasks within projects. This can help break down the work into manageable parts and provide a sense of structure.
Provide Feedback: Offer constructive feedback on their work habits and performance. Be specific about what’s working well and what needs improvement. Encourage them to self-reflect on their own work processes.
Lead by Example: Demonstrate good organizational and time management skills yourself. Your example may inspire them to adopt more structured work habits.
Respect Their Expertise: While encouraging structure, remember to respect their expertise and creativity. Don’t micromanage or stifle their innovation, as it may demotivate them.
Flexibility: Be willing to be flexible and adapt your approach as needed. Not everyone thrives in a highly structured environment, so finding a balance that works for both of you is key.
Mentorship or Coaching: If appropriate, consider offering mentorship or coaching to help them improve their organizational skills and work habits.
Positive Reinforcement: Acknowledge and celebrate their successes, especially when they make efforts to become more structured. Positive reinforcement can be a powerful motivator.
Remember that working with unstructured individuals may require patience and adaptability on your part. It’s essential to strike a balance between providing guidance and allowing them the freedom to leverage their skills and creativity. Ultimately, the goal is to harness their expertise while ensuring that projects are completed effectively and efficiently.