Culture Club: How to positively motivate a slacking team member

Culture Club: How to positively motivate a slacking team member

We’ve got Stout advice from Harvard Business Review and Forbes on determining when you should address a slacking team member’s behavior, plus tips for handling this tricky situation when your career is being affected.

Determine if the Situation Warrants Intervention

If your slacking team member isn’t impacting your ability to do your job or your ability to advance in the organization, move on and focus on your own work. If your job is suffering because of your colleague’s behavior, it’s time to act.

Make an Action Plan to Address the Situation

  • Put yourself in their shoes – Take time for a little exploration and inquiry to determine if there is an outside factor or internal misunderstanding causing a disconnect.
  • Choose conversation over confrontation – approach with curiosity and compassion, and a genuine desire to solve the problem, not finger-point.
  • Stick to the facts – bring specific examples of missed deadlines, project impacts or overtime that were caused by the coworkers behavior.
  • Be flexible – offer solutions, but be open to feedback and moving towards a workable fix.
  • Give them a second chance – keep trying, but if behavior persists, do give advance warning if you plan to take your concerns to the next level.
  • Tread carefully with your manager – if you’ve tried all the above with a co-worker and see no improvement, use the same method when initiating action with your boss: empathy, an open mind, and specific examples will help.

The Stout Summary for Handling a Slacking Team Member

DO- keep an open mind, address the issue with your co-worker before your boss and use specific examples to make your case.
DON’T – Try to fix the issue if it doesn’t affect you, go to your boss first or bring emotions, accusations or resentments to the table.

If nothing changes, it’s time to stop focusing on the slacker. Instead, focus on what needs to be accomplished, and figure out a way to make that happen – with or without your lagging co-worker’s help. It may mean more work in the short run, but if your company culture is positive, then the results will eventually get noticed and you can work your way out of the situation – or realize it’s time to move on altogether.

Be sure to check out our article on Cultural Evolution for great takeaways on how to promote change that boosts success.