Roy Gilbert

When You’re Stuck Working with a Slacker

hbr.org

Summary. Having a colleague who makes mistakes, misses deadlines, or just plain slacks off is more than just a workaday frustration; it can also negatively affect your job — and even your career. How can you keep your colleague’s underperformance from dragging you down?…

Working with someone who doesn’t pull their weight is more than just a routine frustration; it can also negatively affect your work — and even your career. What can you do about a colleague like this? How much support should you give this person? Do you go to your boss? And how can you safeguard your reputation within the organization? What the Experts Say

Having a colleague who makes mistakes, misses deadlines, or is just plain lazy is hardly unusual, says Judith White, teaching professor of business administration at The University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. “It is probably the single most common complaint: ‘I have a colleague who doesn’t do their work and I have to pick up the slack.’” Just because it’s a common problem doesn’t make it easy to deal with, however. “You need to go back to your basic organizational behavior class from business school and pull out every tool in your kit,” she says. Even then, “there’s no quick solution,” says Brian Uzzi, the Richard L. Thomas Professor of Leadership and Organizational Change at Northwestern’s Kellogg School of Management. But when your job performance suffers because of your colleague’s behavior, you need to take action. It’s not worth “gritting your teeth and […]