I remember when I was in University we had to do quite a few group projects. Usually in a group of six, 3 people ended up doing the majority of the work. The other three would either not show up, submit unusable work or miss all the deadlines set for the team. I remember our professors saying that group projects will be much like the office place. I always thought this was a ludicrous statement. There is no way these lazy people will even make it into the job market. Well they do, and usually these people have somehow talked their way into senior roles, while allocating all the heavy lifting to their peers.There is nothing more frustrating then this, so how do you deal?
Try to Address the Issue Head On
Sometimes there are other factors that hinder people’s productivity, a break up, a big life change, other work projects. Before deciding that your co-worker may not be pulling their weight talk to them. Maybe they are overwhelmed, overworked or overtired. Instead of assuming they don’t want to get something done, give them the benefit of the doubt. Try to clear the air and see if they are contributing factors.
Set Clear Boundaries to Create Accountability
Slackers tend to let others take the fall when they aren’t getting their work done. When it comes to project management, make sure that the guidelines are clearly marked and that everyone is familiar with their role. The people with the tendency to lack follow through will have no excuses. It will be very evident who is not putting their weight.
Don’t Get Caught Up in it Being Unfair
Complaining is just a waste of energy. It is easier to just get the work done instead of dwelling on the person that is not getting the work done. Regain your focus and do the best you can. Don’t throw a pity party for yourself, or gossip over it with your co-workers. This ends up being counter productive. It really won’t help the situation in any way.
Refuse to Pick Up the Slack
Let your Superiors Know the Bottleneck
No one likes a tattle-tail but a good work around is to try to position your grievances in a way that is productive. Tell your superior that you would like to get the document they requested ready, but you have not received the part from so and so, and ask them how they like you to proceed.
It can be hard to find the right balance when working on a team. The best teams are ones that work in synergy, with similar goals and work ethics. It is not always easy to find this, but spotting the weakest links and dealing with them, is the best way to increase productivity and create a better work environment.