Common warning signs include two hour lunch breaks and incessant Facebook messaging during office hours. Sometimes you may catch a glimpse of them napping secretly behind their office chairs. They seem to be dodging the eyes of superiors and it can get frustrating working with them. Sounds familiar?
Dealing with irresponsible colleagues can be tricky. So how can you go about it without making things difficult for yourself?
1. Don’t Get Distracted!
First off, focus on yourself. Now that you are aware of their presence, try to accept it. While this may not change their bad habits, it will help you to block them out better. This enables you to remain focused on your work.
2. Don’t Be Influenced
It’s tempting, but resist getting sucked into their habit of taking long lunches and 20 trips to the toilet a day. If they start being friendly and “buddy buddy” towards you, resist their invitations. Sometimes, they might swing by to ask a question about work. But if it progresses into a non-constructive chit-chat, let them know that you are busy.
Over time, they will gradually stop bothering you.
3. The Time Will Come
It’s the time of the year to review your colleagues and this a good time to be honest. If your company doesn’t have a policy of peer evaluation, a good time to let your boss learn about the presence of an irresponsible co-worker is when they are affecting the progress of an important group project.
What you can say: “I’m at a point where I can’t go any further with this project because I’m still waiting for Janelle to finish her part. What can we do about this?”
When sounding this out to your boss, you can also take the chance to lead the project.
4. They Are Responsible For Their Own Actions
During group projects, they may come up with countless excuses for not getting work done, or give you slipshod work, hoping that they can get away with it.
Sound it out and remind them of their responsibilities and deadlines. It may seem like a better option to babysit their work and quickly get things done, but this will often end up zapping away all your valuable time in the long run. Escalate the matter if you feel that it will affect your job performance.
5. Let The Irresponsible Co-Worker Know
Very often, irresponsible co-workers don’t know the depth of chaos they are causing. It will be good to let them know. If they don’t change, hey, you’ve tried your best.
Sometimes, it’s not that they’re irresponsible or lazy. It is entirely possible that they don’t have a good way of organising their work or managing their time. Help them out by sharing ways to manage their time better, or share useful reads with them via email!
You’ll never know but they might be going through a rough patch in life. Your kind understanding will help them deal with their difficulties better and hopefully, they will be back in full force once they have sorted things out.
Sometimes, despite all your efforts, irresponsible co-workers will choose remain the way they are. When this happens, it is more important to safeguard yourself and be mentally prepared.
Who knows, they might snap out of their irresponsible attitude one day. Or, your boss may take further actions for the benefit of the company.
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