When you run into problems with a staff member an effective first step is to identify what type of problem you have on your hands. Ken Blanchard, author of several best selling books on leadership, suggests there are two types of employee problems; "Can't Do" and "Won't Do." These two types of problems have very different causes.
Can't Do Problems
1. Lack of knowledge, skills and/or experience.
2. Lack of clarity in expectations and responsibilities.
3. Lack of understanding of what the standard for good performance looks like.
4. Lack of unclear rules and procedures.
5. Lack of feedback.
For "can't do" problems the solution is to give the staff member what they lack. If they don't have knowledge, give them training. If they are unclear on what's expected, explain it to them. If the procedures are unclear, clarify them. Often times once we look into them, staff issues are simple "can't do" problems that can quickly be resolved.
Won't Do Problems
1. The staff member has lost (or never had) motivation.
2. The staff member is seeking revenge or to even a score.
3. The staff member no longer (or never did) support the mission and values of the camp.
4. The staff member perceives there is no reward for good performance and/or no consequences for poor performance.
5. The staff member is experiencing a personal problem.
"Won't do" problems are far more difficult to deal with than "can't do" problems. These problems require engagement with the staff member to explore the root cause and determine if the issue causing the problem can be solved.
Next time you're faced with a staff issue, start by trying to determine whether you have a "can't do" or "won't do" problem. This first step will hopefully give you insight into where to go next to resolve the issue.
Welcome to the Summer Camp Leadership blog. For those of us who lead summer camps, making a positive difference in the lives of young people is our passion. Turning that passion into a reality, however, takes more than the ability to lead songs, teach archery or plan craft projects. Creating camp experiences that truly transform lives takes leadership. Leadership that creates a vision for the future, leadership that inspires and engages others, leadership that remains focused and stays the course. My hope is through this blog you'll find ideas, inspiration and tools to help you be a great summer camp leader.