Article: Dealing with colleagues who dump work on you

Employee Relations

Dealing with colleagues who dump work on you

Find out if you have the dumper, the missing, the dawdler or the flake kind of colleagues in your team who always have a reason to slack at work.
Dealing with colleagues who dump work on you

Aman finished his work for the day and was about to close his laptop when his team-mate Roshan dropped the bomb – Roshan needed to complete the project by end of the day, but the catch was he has to ‘urgently’ go out and wanted Aman’s help in the assignment. Aman couldn’t say no since the client was an important one, and losing a Fortune 500 company would impact the team’s performance at the year-end – a potential damage to the entire team’s appraisal because of just one person. Aman had to stay back at work till mid-night while finishing the incomplete task for Roshan. 

People like Roshan are there everywhere in all organizations. In one of their researches, VitalSmarts study had reported three-fourths of employees are stressed out when co-workers dump work on them by either abandoning the project or failing to make it sail. The Study also reported that those co-workers are categorised by 4 types: 

The dumper: Failure to handle the big projects or tasks, these kind of colleagues drops those kind of assignments on fellow workers with very little notice and while they are already over-worked with their own projects. 

The missing: Refers to the employees who abruptly takes unplanned leaves without finishing his or her tasks and lets the rest of the team to complete the project. 

The dawdler: This kind is such who will either walk in late for work or leave work early. By doing this, they require their colleagues to compensate and cover for them. 

The flake: Your work depends on when your colleague finishes his part. This kind of colleagues often misses deadlines which keep you from completing what you need to do.

Dealing with any kind of the above 4 is not easy. Either way your work gets hampered. The report also offers a few tips to the employees on how to deal with these colleagues. 

Providing a safety net

It is difficult to tell your colleagues that he or she is slacking at work. But since it’s essential to have a conversation with the concerned person, the discussion should be of more of a concern than that of accusations. This is one way to work without rupturing the relationship. The Study gives an example: "I have a concern I'd like to discuss. It is important to me but it's also something i think will help us work more effectively. May I discuss it with you?"

Don’t be judgmental, be clear on facts

The report suggests that doing away with harsh judgments or vague conclusions about the person or the situation. Begin the conversation with facts. For example, if you had to stay late to finish someone else’s project, it’s better to tell that person ‘since you left the project on this day, I had to finish it staying back at office till 10pm.’ Clearly, mentioning the assignments and the days will ensure you are not vague in your statements.

Be open to dialogues and share concerns

Encourage the person to share his or her concerns, even if he or she disagrees with you. Having a dialogue is a better way to deal with such people, because sometimes they don’t see and realise how their behaviour is affecting others. They also feel that since their work is generally taken care of, they don’t need to bother if they left in the middle. 

There are different methods of dealing with team-mates but what employees should keep in mind is they are working towards a bigger goal and not for personal gains in the organizations. However, it is essential to have cooperating co-workers since there is no room for slack at work.


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Topics: Employee Relations, Watercooler

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