Introduction to Toxic coworker
Working with a toxic coworker who doesn’t work is as distressing as you can imagine. Most of the professionals who are ambitious in their endeavors realize that even if they’re putting their heart out into the work, there’s someone in the team who loves to slack. Do you feel the same? Is your co-worker is lazy and comes late, leaves early and takes a long lunch break and whenever you want her to work on a report she says ‘yes, yes’ and slacks off? If your answer is ‘yes’, we are at your aid. Read this article through and through and you would realize that dealing with a toxic coworker who doesn’t work isn’t a big deal if you know how to press the right buttons.
In this article, first, we will discuss why your co-worker is lazy and slacks off most often. Then we will go on discussing your view of the toxic coworker. And then finally we will articulate a how-to guide to deal with your lazy toxic coworker.
Let’s get started.
Why your toxic coworker doesn’t work and slacks off?
This is a big question. When you have a team working on an interesting project, why would a toxic coworker act like she is the laziest professional on the floor? Now, there are many professionals who have the knack to judge a person and her actions on the basis of what they see. But here we won’t do that. We will go deeper and find out why a co-worker is lazy and slacks off when the other members of the team are on fire.
According to our research, there are mainly three reasons for which your co-worker has earned her title as ‘lazy.’
1. Issues with her philosophy:
Your toxic coworker may be a very good person by heart. But she doesn’t know that if she does what she does will turn out to be a devastating situation for her in the near future. No, it’s not because she will be fired from this organization; but she will never develop a good work ethic if she keeps on doing what she is doing. So, why she does that? The reason is she has an issue with her philosophy. She doesn’t know that she doesn’t know. Business philosopher Jim Rohn said – “Economic disaster begins with a philosophy of doing less and wanting more.” So, if your toxic coworker is not working that means she has not seen herself in the mirror and she is not able to realize what she is doing to herself.
2. Short term focus:
People who see only a few inches beyond themselves can’t look too far into possibilities. Having a short term focus is often good, but if you want to have a growth mindset, it often acts as a hindrance. It’s said that if you want to create a growth mindset, you need to be able to have a helicopter view as well as a pixel view. Your co-worker is lazy because she is concentrating on earning her salary at the end of the month and there’s no failure in the short term. Immediately no-one is throwing her out. But what she doesn’t know is that everything gets compounded and after a certain point she will face such disasters that she can’t figure out now.
3. No motivation:
Everyone gets motivated by different triggers. For some, money controls their every action. For others, there is intrinsic motivation to do better. If your co-worker is lazy and slacking at work, it’s because maybe there are no triggers at the place which can motivate her to work harder. Suppose, she wants to be a singer. Her motivation comes from singing, performing on the stage and connecting with her fans. But as she doesn’t have resources to follow her dreams, she is doing this job. Naturally, she won’t be as motivated as you are (if you want to be big in the corporate world).
These are the main three reasons for which your co-worker is lazy and slacking. It’s important to know why she is slacking. Why? It will give you a perspective to make her contribute to the team more effectively than ever before. If you know her motivation and helps her to follow her dreams subject to the fact that she does her job well at the office, she will not slack off. All you need is to be curious about why she is lazy instead of just labeling her and judging her at the first place.
You can view the toxic coworker in your own way. We can’t say that “my co-worker is lazy” is a truth. Because we see the world, not as it is, but as we are. Thus, whenever we look at someone, we look through the lens of our beliefs and then draw conclusions. But the truth may be further from what you actually think.
For example, if you think A is a coworker who you think as lazy as anyone can be. You see him coming to office late, coworker leaving a few minutes early every day and also taking long breaks during the work hours. And he keeps on doing it. As he has been doing it for a long time, you view him as lazy. But what if he is not? What if he is smarter than everyone on the team? What if he can finish work within two hours which other members would take the full working day to finish?
If you observe yourself closely, you would see that the toxic coworker who is slacking off may not be slack or a lazy person. He may be lazy in your eyes but actually isn’t.
This is important for you to know that whether the toxic coworker you’re pointing at is really a procrastinator or not. If you do, you would be able to handle your toxic coworker and yourself better than ever.
If he is really lazy, you can use the following how-to guide to deal with him. But if he is not, rather it’s just the way you look at him, then you need to do some course-corrections and create harmony within the team to extract the best out of the team members.
After all these considerations, if you think your co-worker is lazy in actual sense, here’s what you should do to deal with her effectively.
A how-to guide on dealing with a lazy toxic coworker
There are many ways to deal with laziness. To give you an idea, think about how you deal with your own laziness? You would need to do the same with your toxic coworker.
1. Be curious
Don’t just judge your co-worker. Yes, your co-worker is casual; your co-worker is lazy and not working much. But if you judge her for her actions, you won’t be able to solve the issue. As a team member or a manager, your job is to find a solution. So, be curious. Why she is lazy? Is she being given more importance by the management? Is she going through some personal trauma? Or is she simply casual? First, know the reason for her laziness. Then you can take action accordingly.
Talk to your co-worker privately. If you are a manager it would be easier for you to talk. If you are not a manager, keep it informal. Tell her that her work is affecting the whole team. And all the members of the team expect her to contribute at a level so that the organizational objective or project deliverable can be achieved. She may get defensive and can close herself in the beginning. That’s absolutely natural. But hang on there and try to explain that you’re not blaming her, but yes, everyone on the team needs to take responsibility.
3. Observe for a few days:
Once you talk to her, notice whether there’s any change in her behaviors or not. If yes, you don’t need to do anything. Just go to her and appreciate her effort. But if not, call a meeting of all the team members and try to remind everyone about their responsibilities and ask how much progress each has made (you can do that if you’re a manager).
4. Judge the intensity of slack:
The intensity of slack is an important consideration. Do you think because of the laziness of your co-worker the project is hampered at a drastic level or at a mild level? Can the impact be ignored? If the intensity of the slack is not as devastating as you think it is, then you can take the mild step like reminding your co-worker about her contribution in the team or asking for her progress in the project.
5. Let follow her ways:
Sometimes it so happens that even if you tell your co-worker you see that nothing is changing for a long period of time. And even the founders and the management are also not bothered. What would you do then? Just concentrate on your work until and unless the workload of your co-worker comes upon you. If that happens, make it a point not to do the work of your co-worker. Don’t be timid in this case. Everyone has their own responsibilities and everyone should do their part to make the objective fulfilled. Yes, there needs to be co-operation and sharing of tasks within the team, but if you’re the only one who is showing all the co-operation and doing the additional tasks, then you need to stop that immediately.
6. Fight mediocrity:
You know that mediocrity is contagious. No matter what it is, your co-worker may not be motivated enough. That’s why day by day she is getting lazier or casual. But don’t let that happen to you. If you’re affected by your co-worker’s attitude, soon you would be facing the same results your co-worker is about to face in the near future. Fight casualness at any cost. Don’t be lazy. If you find it difficult to motivate yourself, find out why you’re working here in the first place. There would be a downward pull if you have one or more co-workers who don’t work or don’t think much about the success of the project. But take things in your own hands. Talk to people who work and intimate your boss about it. Then do your part. At the end of the day, you would be what you do on a daily basis. Fight the urge to be average and become extraordinary.
7. Treat as a warning:
There are two kinds of people on earth. One will act as an example for us and another will act as a warning. Instead of trying to change your co-worker (if she doesn’t want to change), try this. Use her as a warning. Don’t do anything she does. Don’t come late to office. Don’t leave early. Don’t take long lunch breaks. Moreover, don’t be lazy, don’t be casual. Being casual is a disease. Being lazy day after day is like an epidemic. Get away. Treat your worker as a warning and don’t spend much time with her. You become your associations. So be aware. Let a coworker inspire you not to become like her.
8. Have a clear vision for yourself:
Whenever we don’t have a goal or a vision, we act by default and that default position is not a good position to be at. You can choose to act. And you don’t need to be like others. Set for yourself a high standard and create a structure for yourself on a daily basis. No matter what your co-worker/s is doing, ignore that and get focused on your work. If you have something to look forward to, you would be able to make your mark in the years to come. Otherwise, you will finish up just like the lazy co-worker. Now the question remains what would you like to be?
Here we’ve offered eight ways to deal with your co-worker who doesn’t work. The first four is on problem-solving if the problem is solvable and the last four is to save you from the infection of laziness. Use all of them as per the situation. Every situation is different. Try to understand in which situation you’re in. Then choose the ways accordingly. The above tips would help you if you pick one or two and try out. But they’re not universal or comprehensive. Tweak some, discard some and pick some. That’s how it would work. At the end of the day, your co-worker is not your business if the management is not bothered. Simply do your work and step back.
Here are some articles that will help you to get more detail about the toxic coworker so just go through the link.