Stop Solving Problems And Look Busy! The Art of Working With Slackers

When You’re A Coworker Dealing With Slackers:

  • Focus on productivity. Start out by putting your emotions aside and figuring out whether your colleague’s behavior really affects your ability to do your job. Otherwise, it’s probably not worthwhile to pursue the issue.
  • Strengthen relationships. When you’re ready to talk, focus on collaborating to find a solution. If you can build a connection with your teammate, they’ll probably want to avoid letting you down.
  • Revise the workflow. If discussions go nowhere, you may need to act on your own. Can you restructure your job to bypass the coworker who misses deadlines? Even better, maybe you can cover the tasks that are slipping through the cracks. This may be feasible if it’s minor stuff.

When You’re A Manager Dealing With Slackers:

  • Establish measurable goals. Employees may underperform if standards are imprecise. Set targets they can aim for, like making 10 calls an hour or bringing in 12 new clients each year. The key is understanding whether targets will actually help reach the stated goals. Are you solving problems or trying to look busy to higher ups? Managers set the culture for employees.
  • Control cyberslacking. Of course, the lure of social media and the internet has created multiple ways to waste time. Set a good example by limiting your own non-work related browsing. Create policies that set reasonable limits and define appropriate sites.
  • Ask for feedback. If you’re unsure how to proceed, enlist the employee’s cooperation by asking them for their feedback. They may be able to suggest whether they need more one-on-ones or a quieter workspace. Just being consulted may help them to feel more engaged.



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Courtney R. Jones

Courtney R. Jones

Podcast host/Producer. I write and speak on confidence in resilience, mindsets and behaviors that keep us stuck. Find Me: