Updated: Nov 4, 2022
Q: I have a co-worker who is a complete slacker. They don’t do their fair share and I end up picking up the slack. I don’t know what to do.
A: In a survey of 550 people, 93% said they work with at least one person who isn’t doing their fair share. Many people worry that something bad will happen if they say something.
Here are a few tips on navigating these tricky waters:
First, determine how, or if, their actions are impacting your work. If your co-worker isn’t impacting your ability to do your job and is just frustrating you, move on and focus on your own positive work.
If, however, your job is suffering, then you need to do something. Don’t wait until you’re fed up, you’re more likely to lose your temper and you’ll look bad.
Talk to your co-worker directly. Think conversation vs. confrontation. Go into this conversation with a positive attitude and check your assumptions, anger and judgement at the door. Watch your tone of voice and body language. Show that you’re trying to find a solution. Bring specific examples of what’s not working, explain the impact it’s having on you and what you are hoping to see happen moving forward.
Then, stop picking up the slack. If you keep picking up the slack, nothing is going to change. This also makes it easier for your boss to see what’s going on.
If after having two or three conversations nothing changes, it’s time to talk with your boss.
Speak with your boss the same way you did with your co-worker. Explain that you have tried to resolve this on your own; be specific about what you tried and what happened. Don’t dump this on their lap, rather ask for their input on finding a solution moving forward.
If you handle this professionally, it demonstrates your commitment to your work and the company, and your boss will likely respond positively.