John Borrowman, CPC
Borrowman Baker LLC
These days, lots of folks are overworked. Sometimes it doesn’t feel like others are pulling their weight.
Is there anything you can do about it?
Start by taking a look at whether your judgment is a fair one. Admit that your point of comparison is probably yourself. And like your client who carries a bias to overvaluing his company, you have a similar bias about your contributions to the firm. After all, they’re what you know best.
How much time your colleague puts in isn’t always the best measure of actual effort expended or results achieved. There could be a difference involving better time management skills. Or there could be legitimate personal reasons for behavior arising from stress outside the office; dealing with an ill parent, problems with a spouse, or a foreclosure, perhaps.
Get past the subjective and focus on the specific impact on your performance. Did you miss a deadline because of this person? Did you have to stay late because someone else left early?
Sometimes the problem can be as simple as the co-worker who regularly lingers to chat. Take a look at your watch and proclaim that you need to get back to work, offering the alternative of lunch or getting together another time. The co-worker who is there for a work-related conversation will have it. The one who isn’t will see the boundary you have diplomatically set. Referring to the need to get work done will make it hard for your co-worker to feel personally insulted.
If there is a specific impact, especially if it impeded service to a client, use that as the foundation for your approach. “Last week when you were supposed to get the industry research for the Mendenhall project to me by Tuesday afternoon and I didn’t get it until Thursday, we couldn’t keep our delivery promise to the attorney who referred us this work. That made him and us look bad.”
No, it’s not easy. But it’s excellent training for a position of leadership, because you will have to deal with people like this throughout your career.