I recently indulged in a Wednesday night catch up with an old friend from university. As we ploughed through months of catch ups (girls you will understand this) we turned our attention to our jobs and I was surprised as she continued to discuss with me the inequalities between herself and her slightly more senior colleague from a responsibility point of view. She explained that her colleague, despite being at a higher level and on a higher salary, persistently slacked off resulting in her having to pick that slack back up, to the detriment of her own work.
I couldn’t believe that people actually had the nerve to behave like this within the confines of an intimate workforce (the business in question is very small), especially in a world where businesses always appear to be so stretched for resource, but apparently it really does happen. Her colleague had been with the business for some time and was very close to her own line manager. Could favouritism be the issue? We’ve all been in situations where we’ve felt like someone isn’t pulling their weight and those of us who haven’t, clearly fall into the latter category! So how do you deal with a colleague who's just plain lazy? This can be a very difficult problem to tackle without causing conflict or friction within the team, but by the same token it’s not right and sometimes not always possible for one person to be expected to pick up all the slack ALL OF THE TIME.
Don’t get distracted
As irritating as it might be for you, you need to make sure that you remain focused on what you’re doing. Just because they are spending all day checking Facebook and Whatsapping their mates, doesn’t make it acceptable workplace behaviour. It doesn’t matter how long they’ve been in the business, a lazy colleague is a lazy colleague and chances are there's not a whole lot you can do about it.
Sometimes life isn’t always fair
Yep, I know this is super frustrating but you can go on about fairness all you want, no matter how perturbed you are by a situation and how unfair you think it is, some things simply are not fair and there’s not always a solution. Concentrating on the fairness issue is only going to make you feel a hundred times worse. What’s the point? Karma is a funny thing so don’t feel too put out.
What kind of person do you want to be?
You can’t let someone else’s incompetency get in the way of the person that you pride yourself on being. If you’re that person who helps out, don’t spoil it for yourself with your attitude. Think of the people you respect. How do they conduct themselves in the face of adversity? How does that compare with how you’re currently conducting yourself? How many times have you reacted to a situation then kicked yourself afterwards? I know I’ve done it more than a few times!
Don’t take on someone else’s responsibilities
When you’re working as a team, it generally means it’s supposed to be a team effort, and it’s easy to take on someone else’s workload in order to get things done. Sometimes you really do just have to say no. Mucking in is great, but don’t let people walk all over you because they will take the piss if they know they can get away with it.
Don’t go in on the defensive, it’s not going to help the situation and you don’t want to cause problems that don’t need to be there. Sensitive communication can really help the situation if you approach it in the right way. Your co-worker might be acting out as a result of personal problems and even issues with their role, so try and get to the root cause. If you understand each other properly it’s likely you can resolve it with little conflict.
If you're working with one too many lazy colleagues and you simply can't cope anymore, perhaps it's time to search for a new marketing job? Check out the businesses who advertise with us today and work somewhere where the weight is balanced!