DEAR HARRIETTE: I have an employee who is a constant thorn in my side. I give her assignments, and she routinely has some kind of delay that causes a lot of undue stress on the whole team. I have observed her over time, and I believe that her problem is time management. I think she honestly believes that she will be able to complete tasks in a timely manner, only to see on the back end that she actually needed many more hours than she budgeted. I have talked to her about this, but so far it seems to have gone in one ear and out the other. How can I help her to manage her time better without being a micromanager? -- Striking a Balance, Washington, D.C.
DEAR STRIKING A BALANCE: Review the scope of work that your troubled employee is responsible for handling. Look for ways to break out the responsibilities into manageable chunks. Talk through each duty; go into detail about the steps needed to execute it and how much time you believe it should take to complete each one. Then give her concrete deadlines for each rung of responsibility. Be sure to build in cushion time on the back end so that she can still be on time. Work closely with this employee as you support her in establishing a rhythm for successful completing her job. While this could seem like micromanagement, a way to avoid that experience is to make an agreement with your employee that you will work together for a limited period of time, until she feels comfortable. Then you will back off.