A typical office in most organizations consist of different personalities. The personalities range from the adventurous and entertainers to the office gossip, control freaks, the permanently paranoid and stressed out, the blame-shifters, narcissists, and backstabbers. There are also plenty of lazy coworkers, unmotivated to work for reasons best known to them.
Because of this diversity in character, there are bound to be confrontations amongst co-workers. There is a need to come up with ways of resolving potential conflicts in a professional, peaceful and respectful manner without physically or emotionally harming another person. Let’s face it; each person in the office is important and contributes to the organization’s success. How then do you handle lazy co-workers?
Below are seven steps on how to deal with lazy coworkers:
Step 1: Don’t Treat Coworkers Like They Are Lazy
Don’t be hostile when dealing with lazy coworkers. How you address someone significantly influences how they act. Case in point, if you continuously keep referring to your co-workers as lazy instead of calling them by their names, for example, they are likely to become lazy because there is no acknowledgement or recognition of the fact that they’re up to the task.
Step 2: Give Coworkers Their Acknowledgement
However small or big the achievement may be, it is imperative for you to recognize your lazy co-workers for the work they do. You can congratulate or award them for a job well done. Whatever form, acknowledgment inspires them, makes them feel valued and motivates them to put in more effort. Positive acknowledgement is a good way to deal with lazy coworkers and direct them to the right direction.
Step 3: Set Reasonable Deadlines
When you are working on a project that is due by a specific date, you will probably work day and night to get it done on time, right? This tactic can also be a great taskmaster for lazy coworkers. It will give them just enough pressure to put in the work because they are accountable to someone and have to provide a report on the progress made.
Step 4: Don’t Let Their Laziness Affect You
In most offices, you will come across people who make dozens of phone calls while on the job, take up to two-hour lunch breaks, surf the net all day, and take naps in their chairs. They never seem to settle as they keep loitering and pretending they are busy while in the real sense they are not working. What’s even worse is that they seem to get away with it every time. It’s unfair to the person who has been struggling to finish the day’s workload.
But then again, life itself is not fair and complaining doesn’t change anything. Don’t concern yourself with what your lazy co-worker is up to, do your job diligently and the rewards will surely come. Be cautious that it also does not affect your attitude because it may cause your performance to dwindle.
Step 5: Don’t Gossip about Lazy Coworkers
Everybody hates gossip, even in the workplace. It is not wrong to express your concerns about how duties are being carried out in the office, but it’s also not your job to clean up after your co-workers or get them to do their work. Therefore, even as you share your opinions, take caution not to appear like you are outright calling out your co-workers; leave that job to your supervisors.
You can, for example, say that you are unable to finish your project because you are waiting on your co-worker to complete his part to get your point across in a professional way. While some bosses may appreciate your bravery and honesty for letting them know, others may consider it sneaky, unprofessional and immature.
Step 6: Use the Opportunity to Become a Leader
Instead of complaining about your lazy coworkers, why not devise ways to conquer the task and take the initiative to lead the team amidst all the difficulties? Make use of your leadership and workforce management skills to motivate and support other staff to achieve the organization’s goals. This way, you come off as a great leader and at the same time get to help your colleague work well.
Step 7: Be a Friend
The basis of any relationship is friendship. How often do you go out of your way to find out how your colleague is doing? Get to know your colleague, first on a personal level to understand how and why they behave the way they do at the workplace. For some, the laziness may be due to fear, hopelessness, absence of greater gain, indecisiveness, lack of self-worth, procrastination, or poor nutrition because of the deplorable state they live in. The only way to find out is by being a friend; and once you are, it’s a lot easier to correct them in the future.
The bottom line in all this is that we need to handle each other respectfully and sensitively so that we can work in unison. St Paul says, “correct each other in love” because you never know when you will need the other person. They might be that lazy co-worker in your office who seems to have no direction in life now, but who knows, one day they might be your next employer!