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Your Office Coach

It takes a plan to improve a lazy co-worker

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Q: “Ever since 'Brenda' joined our department, I have been doing about 80% of our shared work. Brenda and I don’t have individual job descriptions. We are just expected to work together and get everything done.

“She is frequently tardy, takes long lunches and spends a lot of time on personal business. She often makes errors, but never bothers to correct them. I usually wind up staying late to fix her mistakes and see that all the work is completed.

“Even after I confronted Brenda, she made no effort to change her behavior. When I complained to my boss, he thanked me for my hard work, but did nothing about Brenda. How can I deal with this situation if my manager won’t help?” Overworked

A: The root cause of this problem is a lack of individual accountability. Without separate objectives, there’s no way to determine where your job ends and Brenda’s begins. To correct the imbalance, draft a proposal for a reasonable division of labor and present it to your boss. Explain that this will reduce duplication of effort and make operations more efficient.

You must also stop working overtime to compensate for your colleague’s poor work ethic. As long as you continue to insure that everything is done correctly, your manager will never recognize the true extent of Brenda’s incompetence.

Do you have a difficult co-worker? This may help you decide what to do: The Best Way to Complain about Co-workers.


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