How To Deal With That Lazy Co-Worker

Whether you work at a grocery store or a fortune 500 company, you might just find that someone is not pulling his weight or, at the very least, not as much as you. It’s a problem that can be found in any work environment. We feel your pain and, apparently, so does CNN Money reporter Elaine Pofeldt who spoke on the same topic this week.

While your initial reaction may be to speak to the offending slacker, your argument is likely to fall on deaf ears. “They actively resent it,” said executive coach Steve Robbins to CNN.

The last thing you need is a petty confrontation when all you’re trying to do is get more work done in the office. In fact, you just might end up pulling more focus away from the tasks at hand by getting into a contentious disagreement with a co-worker.

But before you try to go to that boss or manager who you know can sort things out, try some clever moves like addressing the whole team in regards to the standards that need to be met in general or for specific tasks. This way, your message can get to the “lazy” co-worker with singling them out or embarrassing them.

Whether you decide to go this route or not, it’s probably best that, whatever you do, you do it in a way that keeps the focus on the team and the bigger picture and not yourself or the opposing member.

You also might want to try simply talking to them. As Robbins states, “It's possible your colleague had a good excuse. If not, go over his head.”

If and when you do go to the boss, then you’ll need to use your brain again. It’s important that you choose your words wisely and explain to whomever in charge why the issue matters, and not just the issue itself. In that sense, the focus becomes important again.

Porfeldt implies as much when she suggests an opening line in a potential address to a boss. "I'd like to speak with you about a production issue on the team that could impact our vendor relationships… Putting the problem in the context of business results will elicit more buy-in from the boss than gripes about personality clashes,” she said.

In general, it’s wise that you approach these situations with the intent of trying to veer away from an argument as much as possible. Bluntly calling someone out for exactly what they are may get some steam off your chest, but that’s not your objective. You want your workplace to be more efficient and you should keep that as the paramount idea when trying to deal with the lazy co-worker. Diplomacy is the way to go, that is, until someone else’s procrastination makes your life harder.

"If you don't want to be overworked and underpaid, you have to set boundaries," Atlanta executive coach Darlene Price told CNN.