You have an employee who loves stepping up to the plate. He analyzes situations and always has ideas for next steps.
It sounds pretty ideal—and it is—unless your employee’s approach regularly requires some (major) tweaking.
In a prior role, I was responsible for managing volunteers—including someone who, despite the best intentions, frequently suggested cringe-worthy plans for action. Julia (not her real name) would argue that we should keep at failing strategies to see if the tide would turn; apply the same idea across a varied slate of situations, because it worked once; or confront someone who responded better to diplomacy, for the sake of being straightforward. And because she cared about the work, she felt strongly about following her instincts.
The unique thing about being a volunteer manager is that you can’t simply say, “That’s not the way it’s done around here.” After all, you’re working with people who are donating their time. So, you have to find a way to guide them toward a successful result, without be a taskmaster.
Based on that experience, here’s a three-step plan for anyone who has to manage a motivated person who wants to take initiative, but could use some (or a lot of) redirection: