How To Not Just Survive But To Thrive When Faced With A Lazy Co-Worker

May 3, 2021

Here are 5 Practical How-To-Steps from a Life Coach

In a 2018 poll conducted by Pew Research, Americans rated their jobs and careers as having a substantial bearing on how highly they rated their satisfaction with their lives. Jobs and careers were mentioned by a third of all respondents when they were asked to describe what gives meaning to their lives. The study found that those who mentioned their job or career rated their lives 8% more favorable than those who didn’t mention it, regardless of any other areas of their life they may have listed. It is not surprising that our jobs and careers have a significant impact on our overall satisfaction with life given the number of hours we spend at work.

Consider yourself lucky if you have amazing co-workers. Dealing with a lazy co-worker could be taxing not only on your own productivity but also on your mental health. It’s a problem that we’ve all dealt with. In fact as a professional life coach, it is a reoccurring theme amongst many of my clients. It is such a common theme that I’ve developed a 5-step process for my clients who are navigating this difficult real-life challenge:

Step 1. Acknowledge that you are not stuck. Recognize that you are not a victim. You have the freedom of choice. The worst feeling is to feel stuck and powerless, which can easily happen when you’re immersed and overwhelmed by a negative situation. Take a step back from your emotions so that you can see your options and reclaim your power. You may find that your current options are not desirable or immediately actionable but thinking through all of the possible choices that you have will help you to discover a clearer healthier path.

Step 2. Stop the energy drain. Don’t waste your precious energy focusing on your co-worker. When I practiced law as a litigation attorney, before each trial, I’d write myself a note as a reminder to not pour my energy into arguing against the opposing side. I found that if I put my energy into arguing against the opposing side’s theories instead of directing my energy towards supporting my own theories of the case, I not only would waste my energy, I would lose the case. When you stop wasting your energy on your co-worker’s issues and are able to redirect your energy towards advancing your own career, you will find that your energy is being used wisely.

Step 3. Focus on your co-worker’s strengths. I realize this could be a struggle, but everyone has a strength or two. What are your co-worker’s strengths? When we focus on the strengths, the weaknesses often become less important.

Step 4. Bring ideas to your supervisor — be the hero. Show up with solutions.Emphasize how helping your co-worker become more productive will benefit the supervisor, the team, and the company. Be seen as the company’s hero!

Step 5. Change direction. Obstacles are our greatest life teachers. Sometimes we are able to push through an obstacle, other times they are placed in our lives to redirect our path. Is your lazy co-worker here to challenge you to push through or is your lazy co-worker the catalyst that you need to change direction towards a new career or job opportunity? A year from now you may find yourself saying, “but for my lazy co-worker, I wouldn’t have thought of pursuing the career opportunity that I am now enjoying!”

– Shari Leid is an attorney, life coach, and author of the book, The 50/50 Friendship Flow and soon to be released book, Make Your Mess Your Message.

Originally published in Medium on May 3, 2021

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