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The company noted his performance, attitude, and sincerity. Other supervisors assisted him as they did not want their colleague fired. He learned rapidly and soon became the in-house technical expert on tank maintenance. I was allowed to retain him as a tank maintenance supervisor. The planning supervisor taught him project planning and management. His personality developed and he was able to assert himself when required. He learned to work with contractors and handle commercial issues within a few more months and became a very useful member of the team.


  • 1. It is easy to blame somebody for poor performance, even when it is not his fault in any way. No effort had been put in to do a gap analysis and training needs before this person was reassigned, so the fault lay with the company.
  • 2. People can pick up new skills if they are given the training and an opportunity to shine.
  • 3. It is very important to look after people. The outcome can help the person involved and be very satisfying to the mentor.


Companies have to remain lean and healthy. They cannot carry non-performing staff as baggage. But manpower reductions in high unemployment economies can cause a lot of pain, not just to the persons involved and their families, but also to those fortunate enough to retain their jobs. Sometimes, an opportunity to re-deploy people presents itself, but their line supervisors have to make an effort to seek this out. The rest will fall in place, once the will is there.

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