We’ve all worked with our share of slack colleagues in the past. Maybe it was someone who doesn’t want to work at all, or who is just terrible in a group setting. Over on LinkedIn, author and professor Adam Grant suggests the best way around this is to give the slacker a unique task to do.
Photo by Peter Woodman
The idea here is to make your coworker more interested in the work you’re all doing by making them feel more important. Grant explains:
Many groups balloon in size because people are trying to be polite — they want to include everyone and offend no one. In these cases, it’s not difficult to shrink the group, but in other situations, the group is large because the task requires many members. In those contexts, the easiest way to boost effort is to make sure each group member has a distinctive role to play. [Psychologists] Karau and Williams found that free riding was common when people saw their contributions as redundant with other group members’ efforts. If each member is delivering something different, it can’t be taken for granted that someone else will cover your tracks.
It’s a simple way to get a little more work out of a colleague without actually having to do anything. Check out Grant’s article for a few more tips on getting those free riders to contribute, and be sure to read our own tips.