What most managers want in their business is a combination of these two types. It is rare and when you find it, you go out of the way to make sure that that employee feels appreciated. Mostly, by piling on so much work and responsibility on them that they would feel guilty about leaving. (Okay, that's not exactly true and doesn't always necessarily work but it's nice when it does.)
This morning on the ride to work, I realized that I am once again in this situation, although not at work but at home.
Supergirl believes that she can do anything (which is awesome, by the way, to know that your kid has all of this confidence and self-esteem) when really, she is incapable of handling most things, overwhelms shockingly easily, and struggles to understand even the most basic of instructions. "Supergirl, put it over there, no, no, to the left, no, your other left. Here, just let me do it."
She likes to prove how great she is at all things by giving herself tasks that she believes are grown up jobs. Jobs that I have explicitly asked her not to do.
Ever wake up to a dishwasher that was loaded by a four year old? No? It definitely gets the adrenaline pumping for the day, I can tell you that much.
She refuses to do any job that may be suited for or assigned to her. "Supergirl, pick up your toys."
And instead, insists on doing jobs that are not only out of her competence level, but also innately dangerous. "No, I am going to dust the top of the refrigerator. I think it might be dirty."
Conversely, I have quite the capable and competent husband. A husband who is not only able to run AND load the dishwasher, but also the clothes washer, the microwave, AND the oven. I marvel at such genius.
But unless it is written down or distinctly expressed? It's not getting done and he will probably not even notice it until you say something.
That mountain of clothes that have been washed, but need to be hung and put away? I get two very different outlooks on the situation:
Supergirl: "Mom. Mom. Momma. Can I put those clothes on hangers for you?" Even after I tell her no, she still does it, gets bored after two shirts and drops those on the floor. Now I have once clean clothes attached to hangers laying on the floor with 4 year old feet prints running across them.
The Hubs: "Clothes? What clothes? I have never seen clothes. Is that what you call these pieces of cloth on my body? How did they get there?"
In my work life, there are reasonable actions to take here. Perhaps Worker A would benefit from some additional training or hand-holding, perhaps Worker B needs to have a conversation regarding attitude or other positions that they may be better suited for. There is always room for improvement, always ways to better one's self to the needs of the company.
In my home life, the only response seems to be, let the Momma do it. If I try to teach the Supergirl the correct way to hang shirts (or dust, or load the dishwasher), she becomes inconsolable and storms off to her room. Should I try to discuss the obvious passive-aggressive tendencies of an unobservant husband, he shuts down all communication for several days for the slightest question of his ability to do anything.
I can't write them up or threaten termination, how can I coach them to becoming better housemates?