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7 Ways to Make Colleagues Take Responsibility for Their Work

You work with adults, not babies, so there is no need to be spoon feeding your colleagues. You want them to take accountability for their work instead. How do you do that though? In a post at her blog, Elizabeth Harrin provides seven reasons why employees shrug off responsibility, and what can be done about it.

Reasons Why People Don’t Do Work

  1. They are lazy.
  2. They don’t have the skills to do the work.
  3. They don’t know how to manage their time.
  4. They don’t have the time.
  5. The work is too easy or boring.
  6. They aren’t committed to the plan.
  7. They don’t trust their colleagues.

Being lazy is just another way for someone to say, “I don’t want to work here,” so why should they? Put them up for a formal review. Once management sees the full picture, your performance issue might just leave the building. Then again, that signature lazy attitude could be a misinterpretation of disinterest. Sometimes making work more interesting, or offering more challenging work, cures their zombie-like stasis.

Furthermore, some people aren’t prepared for the tasks they are given, but if they’re motivated to learn, they can be (with some amount of time and training) the colleague you know they can be (cue theme music from Rocky).

People don’t readily admit shortcomings, so you might have to guess when it comes to staff who struggle with time and task management. The only way to overcome this deficit is to teach it. Managing time and activities is a learned skill – one that you undoubtedly have as a successful PM. Disclaimer: be careful that you don’t mistake mismanaged time for complete lack of time. The latter scenario warrants a conversation with a line manager about which of their tasks take priority. For instance, if you’ve assigned an unrealistic deadline, it’s possible they’ve just decided not to adhere. The moral of the story is to not assign unrealistic deadlines.

Perhaps there needs to be a simple clarification of expectations. Hold up a roles and responsibilities document or a RACI matrix and you might finally discover what they are truly capable of. In a worst case scenario, the team just might not get along. All trust and respect is suddenly eroded, and no one wants to explain the reason. In this case, your best bet is to facilitate relationships on a one-to-one basis until the issue resolves or an explanation surfaces.

Read the original post at:


Eric Anderson

Eric Anderson is a staff writer for CAI's Accelerating IT Success. He is an intern at Computer Aid Inc., pursuing his master's degree in communications at Penn State University.

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