Do you have a work-shy workmate? Does their lack of motivation drag the performance of your whole team down?
It may be tempting to go straight to your boss about the issue, but consider more subtle strategies instead that will not only bring the problem to the attention of your boss but might even earn you a promotion along the way.
1. Keep calm and carry on
It may have been building for a while but now that you've noticed it, it's driving you to distraction. Keep calm, bite your lip and do some thinking about how best to handle it.
For career consultant Sherridan Hughes, leading by example may well be the best option, "Having a conscientious attitude yourself can rub off on people. It is also worth considering whether the person has the right skill set to carry out the role. Perhaps they have just been promoted and feel out of their depth but are too proud to ask for help?
"Offering your help so that you can subtly point out how you think they can improve or suggesting a training course that you found useful are all good ways to get your work mate moving in the right direction." Adopting a helpful, coaching style with your colleague will undoubtedly be noticed by your boss and can only benefit you in terms of experience.
2. Softly, softly
Without prying too much, try to find out about their situation outside work, especially if they haven’t always been a poor performer. Arranging to go for an informal drink outside work could be a good way to find out if they are struggling as a working parent, have elderly relatives to care for or even have health issues themselves.
If you have tried all of these subtle approaches and found out the background but still feel it is essentially a laziness issue, it is probably time to take it to the next level.
3. No 'I' in team
In a meeting with just you and your boss, say that you’ve been thinking about the team's performance and areas of strength and weaknesses. While you need to include areas for improvement in other areas and your own, saying you feel you need more resources in the specific area your colleague is responsible for should definitely set alarm bells ringing with your boss.
You could also suggest a team meeting where you consider how you all interrelate as a team and where the dependencies lie. If you are responsible for converting sales leads, for example, and your colleague is not providing you with enough quality leads to meet your own conversion targets, check they understand the impact that it is having on you.
Having a team gathering where you very publicly talk about the group’s dependencies can be a great way to ensure people start pulling their weight.
4. Pastures new
If the subtle approach doesn’t work—or if the colleague is your boss—you may need to think again. Ensure you keep a record of all the different approaches you tried and all the targets you personally have met. Sherridan Hughes: "You may well decide at this point that the best course of action is to look for another job in an organisation that will value your input more highly and where people cannot use smoke and mirrors to mask an unwillingness to pull their weight."