How to deal with a flaky coworker

In most workplaces, you depend on different individuals to enable you get your work performed. A few of your initiatives could require teamwork by their nature. At different instances, there are individuals exterior of your particular crew who present help so as to get one thing accomplished. When the individuals you want to depend on are lower than dependable, what are you able to do?

You could be tempted to tackle extra duty for initiatives your self to be certain that they get performed. This technique works within the short-term, however backfires within the long-term. For one factor, colleagues could reap the benefits of your generosity. For one more, you don’t have the time (or usually the experience) to do the roles of a number of individuals, and so your productiveness will in the end undergo.

So as to deal with unreliable colleagues, it helps to perceive what makes them flake out. Listed here are three prospects:


Colleagues who aren’t conscientious

Some individuals we see as unreliable are usually low on the Huge 5 character attribute of conscientiousness. They have an inclination to be disorganized and sloppy of their office and should have habits that get in the best way of finishing initiatives. They are often actually inventive in the best way they get issues performed, although, so it isn’t like we should always purge all individuals low in conscientiousness from organizations.

As a result of your colleagues low in conscientiousness will not be probably the most organized individuals you’ll encounter, although, having a good construction for working with them is necessary. That’s the place some form of undertaking administration software can are available in. There are many commercially out there instruments you need to use on-line in addition to others that work nicely for in-person conditions.

What’s most necessary, although, is that your software define the important thing obligations of each member of the crew. The software additionally wants to have lists of particular duties linked to who’s accountable for finishing them and clear deadlines that hyperlink to individuals’s calendars. It’s helpful if these instruments may remind individuals of duties that want to be accomplished.

Colleagues who’re too agreeable

Some colleagues who’re unreliable say “sure” too usually. As a result of they agree to a lot of duties, they’ve an excessive amount of to do—and so they find yourself not ending key duties on time (or not doing them nicely, in an effort to get them performed).

There are two the reason why individuals could say “sure” a lot. One is that there are a lot of agreeable individuals on the market. The Huge 5 character attribute of agreeableness displays how a lot a particular person desires to be preferred by others. One good way of being preferred is agreeing to assist somebody. However, if you happen to don’t say “no” to a sure variety of requests, you find yourself overloaded.

Together with your agreeable colleagues, you want to assist them to refuse some requests. A straightforward method to do that’s to give them a script. When they need to say “no” have them follow a phrase like, “I would like to assist, however I’ve a lot on my plate proper now, and so sadly, I can’t.” Should you’re supervising an agreeable colleague, you might also need to allow them to know you’ve got their again after they flip down a request for assist.


The opposite motive why individuals agree to tackle duties is that all the things appears like enjoyable to do. These of us are curious and keen to work, however just like the particular person whose eyes are larger than their stomachs at a restaurant, they chew off greater than they’ll chew.

These colleagues want some assist prioritizing. They need to maintain a record of the vital duties they’ve to accomplish out there always. Fairly than agreeing to a new request, have them ask for a day to assume it over earlier than agreeing to assist with one thing new. In that day, they’ll look over their record of duties and resolve whether or not they actually have room on the schedule to have interaction.

Colleagues who’re perfectionists

The final of the colleagues who flake out are individuals with low self-confidence of their work. These people work arduous on duties, however are involved that their work won’t be ok to move alongside to others. As a outcome, they don’t move their efforts on to the remainder of the crew.

Gently counsel to these colleagues that the most effective undertaking is a accomplished undertaking. Set the expectation that no piece of labor will ever be excellent. There may be all the time room for enchancment. As a substitute, it’s necessary to move work on to different crew members in order that it may be built-in into a bigger undertaking and in order that different individuals can carry their experience to bear.

For youthful colleagues, it’s additionally necessary to remind them that the one method to find out how to enhance their work is to flip over initiatives—warts and all—and get corrections and suggestions from extra skilled crew members. These corrections are studying alternatives, not punishments.