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Taking the heat for slacker coworker

Dear Office-Politics,

I am a project manager for a consulting company. One of my co-workers was hired by the Regional Team Leader who worked with him at their previous company. There are two others that were hired by the Team Leader from the same company and they are without a doubt his favorites and friends.

To make a long story short, this person was assigned a project by me with more than enough time to complete it. He missed the first deadline, then tried to miss the second, all the while telling me that everything was under control until the deadlines would arrive.

When the second deadline was to be missed, I pulled a team together to help, and notified both his supervisor and the Team Leader. He spent the next two weeks leaving us to do his work late nights and weekends, lying about the status of work and other project items, and being rude and confrontational.

This is not the first time that he has failed to complete his work by the due date and typically leaves much of it for me at the last minute. The team was so frustrated at the end of this experience, I made a mistake and vented to the Team Leader, his supervisor, and my supervisor about all that had happened. Because this person is the Team Leader’s friend, nothing was done about him and the blame for all of it was placed on my shoulders for “not managing him”.

I haven’t worked with this person since, but I was recently told by my supervisor that they would like me to start working with him again soon. I feel like this is a no win situation since there are no repercussions for him when he lies or flat refuses to take direction. It has definitely affected my relationship with the Team Leader. Any suggestions?


Taking the heat

peter garber

Dear Taking the heat,

It appears that the Team Leader either doesn’t know what this individual is like or doesn’t want to accept the truth about him. If you continue to complain about this guy to the team leader it may be viewed as a negative about you. Try this approach instead…

Ask the Team Leader for help and guidance in maximizing this person’s potential. Maybe you are missing some key to getting this guy to perform the way you need him to? Ask the Team Leader to help you develop a plan for managing this person on the next project.

Better yet, ask the Team Leader to get personally involved in helping manage him on this next project. Make sure that the Team Leader gets a chance to see what you have about this individual’s performance. Hopefully, the Team Leader will get the real picture about this guy. Thanks for writing to Office-Politics.


Peter Garber, Author

Peter R. Garber has worked as an HR professional for over 25 years and is the author of many business books including: Winning the Rat Race at Work and 100 Ways to Get on the Wrong Side of your Boss.

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