There are some coworkers you can always count on – to be completely unreliable. The headaches really start when your boss gives you and this coworker a joint project or task to do. You do your part, and as usual, your coworker doesn’t get his (her) part finished. The end result? You either end up doing all the work yourself, or the project just doesn’t get completed. Either way – you lose.

When you have a coworker who habitually never comes through, it’s critical that you are direct and to the point with him. H ave a conversation with him before and (if necessary) after the project.

Before the project, you need to clearly communicate your concern, ie: “Don’t fall down on me again this time – I don’t want to be doing all the work.” If the person still fails to do their part, then you need to clearly convey your disappointment, ie: ‘Hey – you dropped the ball on me again, and you really made my workload crazy.” Don’t be delicate. Don’t dance around it. This is time for a frank & open discussion.

Most of us don’t like to have these kinds of conversations because we consider them to be confrontational. But the truth is, while they confront someone who is chronically not doing what they are supposed to be doing, the actual confrontation began with the coworker’s behavior. It’s a tough thing to do, but if you don’t deal with the issue immediately and in a direct manner, you’re giving tacit permission for the behavior to continue.

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