When I had to sign up for a project in a team, I had no idea what was in store for me. As days went by, I realized that the other two members of my team were slackers. I am the kind of person who would run hither and thither to get the work done whereas the others hardly showed up and even when they did come, they would be busy checking on their phones or watching movies and take over two hour lunch breaks. The very thought of me slogging while they were enjoying made me decide that I should put this to an end. Over the days, I learned a lot on how to deal with them and to get the work done. Here are some practical tips on dealing with slackers:
Delegate work to the slacker
The best thing to do is to delegate work to each team member, even the slacker. When each person is made responsible for an amount of work, there will be no chances for slackness. Give no room for person A to do person B`s work just because person B is slack and not putting his best foot forward.
Help only when it’s genuinely needed
Sometimes, the slacker will simply say, “I don’t know” and give lame excuses to sit back and not do their work. Use your discernment to see if the person is genuinely finding difficulty with the work or is he just playing coy. If it’s genuine, train him but don’t do the work for him.
Be wise while dealing with them
Be extremely wise when you deal with slackers. Every word and behavior can be turned against you. Since they don’t want to do any work, they will try to find fault with you. A Biblical proverb says, “Be wise as serpents and innocent as doves.” Yes, you should be innocent and not take a wrong, dishonest route but you should also be wise in your approach.
Review the performance of slackers on a more consistent basis
You should set up a fixed time on a daily or weekly basis to review each team member’s progress. This will enable you to take the right steps if a team member is lagging behind the set target. Be clear cut on what is expected and find out why a team member is not able to accomplish what’s required of him. When you review the work done on a frequent basis, it will also help the team know their progress.
Get to the root cause
If the problem of slackness persists, try to find out the root cause of the problem. It may not always be laziness. It could be due to a personal problem or lack of interest or difficulty in understanding the assignment. After figuring out the root cause, you will be able to take the appropriate steps and actions. For instance, if the person is slack because he hasn’t fully understood the work, you could probably train him in order to get him prepared.
Work independently if necessary
Yes, you read it right. You may say, ‘but a team has to work together’. It’s true that the team should have a common goal but what if some of your team members are not sharing the yoke? What if they try to get their work done from you or distract you at a time when you should be doing something more important? So, in such cases, opt for each individual to work independently and then later on you can share your results and discuss your data.
Allot a particular time for discussions
There are some thing’s which you cannot procrastinate. The urgent matters have to be looked into immediately. But, the ‘not so urgent’ matters can be kept on hold. If the team members are always coming to you for small and insignificant doubts or to discuss as and when they want, it could slow you down. You will only be helping them and not be able to do your task. So, it’s best that you allot a specific time in a day for doubts, discussions and so on.
When you take these simple steps into consideration, you will be effective in working with slackers and still get your work done. How awesome is that?