Your employees can be the most significant asset or biggest liability to your business, depending on how they pull their weight. Productive staff will help you sustain the company, whereas underperforming ones will undermine overall performance.
Regardless of your situation, the presence of a weak link in your team will cause bottlenecks and choke productivity. According to Forbes, up to 93 percent of teams often feature at least one member who wastes time and fails to carry their weight.
While it is common for employee performance to fluctuate, actual underperformance must be taken seriously. Lucky for you, there are ways to address such lackadaisical behavior before it matures into something worse. Here are tips on what you should do if a member of your team fails to carry their weight.
Take a Walk in Their Shoes
Working with someone who does not pull their weight can be intensely frustrating. But before you lose your cool and quickly judge them, it is always best to first get to the root cause.
In most cases, slacking does not usually mean laziness. Sometimes the individual might be stuck on an idea, overwhelmed with too much workload, confused about the project, dealing with domestic issues, or struggling to grasp a new skill.
If you realize that your colleague is slacking, it will help if you first try on their shoes to identify the root cause. Just approach them and ask what the problem could be. Ideally, it is best to do this one-on-one, probably during a scheduled office break. Figure out ways that you can professionally help them out without neglecting your responsibilities. Sometimes lending an ear and offering your support is all they need to get back on track.
The main essence of teamwork is collaboration and support. It is not an individual sport but rather an accumulation of combined effort towards achieving a common group objective. So, when you realize that a co-worker is not pulling their weight, it would be best to lend them a hand. But this does not mean that you should take on their workload.
Instead, you can offer guidance, give feedback, or share some of your best productivity hacks to help them catch up. Remember that being supportive does not mean that you carry their weight yourself. Instead, offer to help out with less critical tasks. Better yet, sharing how to prioritize time can help boost the productivity of any lagging team member. But be cautious enough not to encourage slacking. So, watch out for regular occurrences.
Opt to Converse Rather Than Confront
If slacking occurs more often and your co-worker’s negligent behavior hampers your work progress, you should speak up without using an accusatory tone. It would be improper to approach management right away, but don’t go telling them to get to work if you are not the boss. If this is the case, approach them professionally and explain how their work habits affect your work or the project.
In some cases, unified messaging via a unified messaging system can come in handy for those working with remote teams. Be sure to keep the conversation honest, positive, and forward-looking. Also, straightforwardly state your case and avoid using a short fuse in the conversation.
Job rotation often gives businesses a unique chance to monitor employees’ potential and broaden their skill base. It mainly involves allowing your staff to take on new responsibilities in a different capacity for some time before circling back to their original job position.
It isn’t always an option, but doing so often allows employees to pursue their passion within the organization. It actively helps to eliminate boredom and encourages development. Rotating responsibilities can help you let team members see where they might have gone wrong and how getting it right helps develop new skills and find new areas of strength. This often creates a better sense of role appreciation among co-workers and helps to slack workers get stronger.
Motivate Your Team Member
Dealing with a coworker who doesn’t carry their weight is never fun, yet necessary. You can use the four-step process outlined above to respond when slackers fail to pull their weight.
Remember to approach them professionally and only offer supportive assistance for less critical tasks. Consider rotating responsibilities where possible to help encourage development and give slackers a chance to reflect on their shortcomings.
However you choose to deal with an employee who does not carry their weight, you must maintain professionalism. You might not be in a position to control how they act, but you can choose to be respectful and not let their actions affect your relationship at work.
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