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:
Shirking Responsibility Incompetence Missing Managers Teamwork Inconsiderate Actions Initiative Workload

All of us work hard, but there is one person in our department who is just plain lazy. Her work is sloppy, she is late on everything, and she causes the rest of us to fall behind. Our manager says we should take care of this ourselves, but we have met with her, and she has made no effort to improve. What should we do now?

This type of problem can develop when people report to an individual who has the title of manager, but not the skills. When there is an employee who is not pulling his or her weight, the manager needs to take action, unless that manager is not pulling his or her weight either.

You should meet with this co-worker again, with the objective to energize her, not to criticize her. Give her specific information showing how her performance is interfering with work in the department, and then ask her if there is anything you can do to help her get her job done. Her response and subsequent behavior is going to help you determine your next step.

If she continues to shirk rather than work, then your next stop is your manager's office. Give your manager specific examples of problems that your co-worker's performance or lack of same is causing, and be sure that your manager understands the steps you have already taken to deal with the problem. It will also be important to let your manager see how he or she can personally benefit by taking action to deal with this co-worker.

If your manager opts to operate with his head in the proverbial sand, then you should opt to go up the proverbial ladder.

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!