So how do you communicate with a very detail-oriented person?

So here at work I’m trying to prep a co-worker to hold down the fort for a couple weeks when my wife and I have a baby.

I’ve been supporting this particular business unit for about 2 years now, and my co-worker just got detailed to support me about 3 weeks ago.

As far as I know, I’ve given her plenty of documentation, examples and walk-throughs of the system so that she should have a good handle on it.

But… apparently she’s one of these people who learn from the bottom up and need to get all the details straight, and I’m one of the types who generates a conceptual model and fills in the details as I get them.

She seems really uncomfortable with what I’ve given her, which to my mind, is a pretty comprehensive overview of what the business unit does, what the system does and how we fit into it. It’s like I haven’t told her everything, so she’s uncomfortable.

I don’t think that way- I’m totally comfortable with having black holes in my knowledge, so long as I have knowledge that the black holes exist, and what they concern, and have an idea of where to look that knowledge up or who to ask.

How do I give her enough knowledge so that she’s comfortable, without going through the details of everything involved like she seems to want?

Assure her that you will contact her daily to give advice, walk through problems and give her updates on your personnel situation. And then only call when the baby is born.

It’s called trial by fire; sink or swim; do or die. If she loves you she will be there when you come back; if not then you learned she wasn’t up to snuff and move on to the next one.

I think a good strategy would be to find another employee (let’s call him Bob) who you can introduce her to as “the expert”, kind of a: “if you have any problems, go to Bob. Bob can take care of your problem.” Make sure they meet face-to-face. Pick a Bob who is like you, and ok figuring out the solution to problems without too much hand-holding.

That way, in the worst case, at least she has a recourse to go to before calling and annoying you during your leave. You might still get contacted if both her and Bob are stumped, but hopefully that won’t happen.

Tell her what the priorities are and which things can wait a bit. Show her where to look at previous information she might want to consult.

After that it is just like teaching a cat how to swim. You throw her in, she doesn’t like it, but she learns.

Make it clear up front that she is expected to decide the issues on her own, and that you will support her choices. Then give her one specific time of day, say 9 to 10 am when she can call you for advice.

And let history run its path. You have more important things to attend to, an people can excel when given the chance.

This is the exactly wrong time to micro-manage. It is the right time to let go and see what your assistants are capable of.

Clean up might be a bitch, but you do your underlings no favor by expecting that they can’t do your job. They can.

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This is more of an advice question than a factual question.

Moving thread from General Questions to In My Humble Opinion.