Updated April 25, 2023
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? Read this article through and through, and you will realize that dealing with a toxic co-worker 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 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 a team is working on an interesting project, why would a toxic coworker act like he/she is the laziest professional on the floor? Now, many professionals have the knack to judge a person and her actions on the basis of what they see. But we won’t do that. We will investigate why a co-worker is lazy and slacks off when the other team members are on fire.
According to our research, there are mainly three reasons why 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 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 doing what she is doing. So, why does she do 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 have a helicopter view and 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 she doesn’t know 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 an 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 she is doing this job because she doesn’t have the resources to follow her dreams. 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 why 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 contribution to the team more effective than ever before. If you know her motivation and help 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 in the first place.
You can view the toxic coworker in your own way. We can’t say that “my co-worker is lazy” is the 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 think.
For example, if you think A is a coworker who you think as lazy as anyone can be. You see him coming to the office late, a coworker leaving a few minutes early every day, and also taking long breaks during work hours. And he keeps on doing it. You view him as lazy as he has been doing it for a long time. 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 while other members would take the full working day to finish?
If you observe yourself closely, you will see that the toxic coworker slacking off may not be slack or lazy. He may be lazy in your eyes but actually isn’t. This is important for you to know whether the toxic coworker you’re pointing at is a procrastinator or not. If you do, you can handle your toxic coworker and yourself better than ever.
If he is lazy, you can use the following guide to deal with him. But if he is not, rather it’s just how 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 the 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 and 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 is she 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 team members 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 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 or not there’s any change in her behaviors. 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, 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 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 a mild step like reminding your co-worker about her contribution to the team or asking for her progress in the project.
5. Let her 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. 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 your co-worker’s work. Don’t be timid in this case. Everyone has responsibilities and should do their part to fulfill the objective. Yes, there needs to be cooperation and sharing of tasks within the team, but if you’re the only one showing all the cooperation 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 more casual. But don’t let that happen to you. If you’re affected by your co-worker’s attitude, you will soon face the same results your co-worker will face soon. 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 will be a downward pull if you have one or more co-workers who don’t work or don’t think much about the project’s success. But take things into your own hands. Talk to people who work and inform your boss about it. Then do your part. At the end of the day, you would be what you do daily. 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 the office or leave early. Refrain from taking 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. Getaway. 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 yourself a high standard and create a structure for yourself daily. 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 will 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 you would 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 which situation you’re in. Then choose the ways accordingly. The above tips would help you if you pick one or two and try them out. But they’re not universal or comprehensive. Tweak some, discard some, and pick some. That’s how it would work. Your co-worker is not your business if the management is not bothered. Simply do your work and step back.
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