Get advice on how to deal with jerks at work Check out the book 'Jerks At Work' and other titles by Ken Lloyd Ph.D. Return to the homepage Learn more about Ken Lloyd, Ph.D. Submit a question to Ken Lloyd, Ph.D.

You asked, Ken answers ...

This item is filed under these categories:
Meetings Insults Condescending Treatment Nastiness

I was put on a task force with four other people, and we are supposed to look at benefit programs. There is one person in the group who comes late to the meetings, hardly does any work, and is quick to make snide comments. We spoke with our manager, but he feels this individual is important for the group. How do we get anything done?

Since this is an ad hoc group, and all this individual does is add havoc, there are few steps to take. You have already taken the most important one, namely to talk with your manager. He could have used his influence and power to help bring this individual into line. Since he opted not do so, your disruptive associate may feel even further emboldened.

The next step is for the four of you to meet with this problematic associate to explore possible ways to work together. One approach is to ask how he would like to work with you. He may be a creative loner who could be more effective by emailing his inputs to the group. If you let him come up with a way to constructively work with you, he just may be able to do so.

If he continues to be a disruptive force, then you and your associates need to revisit your manager, give him an update, and let him see how the project is suffering. Although your group is studying benefits, there will be no benefit unless he takes some corrective action.

Comment on this item

Your name (optional)
If you leave this blank, we'll list you as "Website visitor"

Your comments
Please keep your comments focused on the topic. Thanks!