How to deal with people who set the standards too high for themselves

So my latest question through my mind that hopefully somebody can shed some light on: I have a particular individual at the station that I am in charge of that consistently talks a big game, as if he were the cats meow when it comes to the fire service. However he is consistently setting the bar for himself so high that he can never attain the level he wants to achieve, and then when he fails he takes it out on himself and everybody around him. Training with this particular individual can be very stressful, and definately nnon-productive.

Now I have talked to himabout this several times, and even gone as far as to write him up, and send him to the operations chief for discipline or even transfer, but I feel that the department is leaving him with me due to nobody else will deal with him. I guess what I am looking for is info from others as to what you recommend and what should be done or if you have any experience with individuals like this. It's very frustrating especially when you are trying to put together a fully functional team that can operate without their officer.

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Comment by Jacob Fouts on March 25, 2009 at 1:55am
Hey Pete I appreciate the input on the sort and long term goals....we had just done this about a week prior to your post and I must say that it has already lit a fire under him to get better without setting the goals too high. He has even approached me and wants to get help changing things around to help him get hired as a career ff. Belkieve me when I say this, my faith has kept me in the game with this individual.
Comment by Padre Pete on March 24, 2009 at 3:44am
Jacob, Chief Waller's "SMART" idea is great and Dustin hit on an old favorite I've used a lot "Sometimes it is better to set goals low and succeeed than to set them too high and fail." Have you tried having him put his own short and long term goals in writing ? (a copy for each of you) Let that serve as the standard by which both of you monitor his success or failure. It would serve as a point of reference in future conferences. ie: He set it up. Did he or did he not live up to it? If not, why not? You may be stuck with him because you really are the man for the job. I have noticed your Faith shines trough. Good to know you are out there. Keep it up. Viaje Con Dios
Comment by Dustin J. Millis on February 13, 2009 at 3:50am
I know what you are going through man... I've had to deal with two guys like this now in the past few years. One was back when I was in highschool (I'm only 20) This kid was a wanna-be professional body builder who was at the gym more then he was at home. I worked out with him 3-4 days a week because I wanted to stay in shape and be healthy but had no real desire to gain the huge muscle mass he did. Anyway... he was always setting goals way too high in the gym as well as away from it. Example... after highschool he was working at the local pizza place and was telling eveyone how he was going to buy a new corvette come summer time. I know how tough the situation is that you are going through because nobody ever wanted to tell him, "your an idiot, you cant buy any brand new car working there" or "your crazy, you cannot bench 400 lbs" Its hard to tell someone they cannot do something because you want to be supportive but at the same time you have to keep them in check.

More to the point... there is a guy on my dept. who is currently our treasurer. Hes one of those guys who always has an opinion about everything and according to himself is never wrong. Needless to say, he just gets on everyones nerves and people head for the door when they see him coming. Hes constantly dropping hints about wanting to be an officer and always asking our officers "how he can get more respect" which everyone knows means "how can I become lieutenant?" Its hard to tell this guy that he probably never will be lieutenant because hes just too damn cocky. At the same time though, its hard because at least he has the desire to do it where as most guys cannot even roll outa bed when the pager goes off. Although the guy in question also has a big problem with that too.

Point being... it may be hard to have to tell these guys that their goals are unrealistic and foolish but you almost owe it to them. Its better to accomplish a smaller goal then fail at a big one. You can always work your way up to the point you want to be at. Just stress to the guy that goals must be taken in small steps and that nothing comes without hard work
Comment by Ben Waller on February 12, 2009 at 8:54pm
Try teaching him to use SMART objectives...

Standard, Measureable, Achievable, Realistic, and Time-Sensitive.


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