How to handle someone who does not want to take any additional work?

May 30, 2015

There are some difficult colleagues at every workplace, just as there are some great colleagues. I stressed upon the importance of relationships and the need to keep the communication on with difficult colleagues.

I have been asked to share some thoughts on a very common problem: how to handle someone who does not want to take any additional work?

The first point that comes to my mind is that each organization has its own systems, procedures and work culture. Managers should find solutions within this context. Besides, every individual is different. Therefore, there can’t be a one-size-fit all solution. Having said this, the following points might help:

  1. Get to know the person well

In most cases, it will help to know the person well in order to understand his or her behavior at work. There are times when people are stressed, not in the best of their health or not happy in their relationships. They may also have frustrations for not being able to achieve their career goals. All this affects their behaviour at work. It will help to understand the reasons for behaviour. In most cases, this would offer ideas for handling the person better.

  1. Assign tasks keeping in mind the interest and strengths of people

All of us have our likes and dislikes. True, not all tasks assigned to us are of interest to us. But they have to be done. By and large the interests of people should be kept in mind while assigning additional tasks. Ignoring this might be disastrous. If you assign two tasks that a person likes to do, then you may also assign the one that he does not like and the person may not complain. But if you merely assign tasks that don’t interest him, he is more likely to resist. Also, If new tasks are assigned, it is also important to ensure that the person receives adequate training and support to be able to handle them.

  1. How you assign the task is more important that the task itself.

The manner in which tasks are assigned is the most important thing. People need to feel important and significant. Therefore, don’t just assign, talk to the person and explain why would you like the colleague to take care of it.

These approaches will basically result in enhancing ownership of colleagues and building commitment. Better results are achieved through building commitment rather than seeking compliance.