What if your colleague does a bad job and it reflects badly on you?

Many people in the world do a terrible job. If one of them happens to be your colleague that could be a big problem. Maybe he is just not so good at what he does, or, way more annoying, he might be lazy or rude. Whatever it is, it makes your team look bad and it reflects badly on you.


This is damaging to you in many ways. It might look as if you are the one not doing a good job, so it could hurt your career. Maybe you need to work harder to make up for the work your colleague doesn't do. In any case it can be really frustrating and annoying. It can ruin your satisfaction in your work or make you lose sleep.


Here are four tips to deal with this difficult situation.


1. Change your work

Reshuffling your roles could help. With a different way of distributing what you do and what she does, maybe you won't get as much in each other's way as much.


This is not going to be easy. You want a work division that makes it clearer who does what - who is doing the good job and who the bad - and your colleague won't like that. It will take a good deal of thinking and some strategy. But imagine how much better things will get if this works out well! So make a plan and talk to whoever is in charge.

2. Should I talk to my boss?

It might be a good idea to talk to your boss - after all she is responsible for this problem. But it’s a trade off. Maybe your boss won’t appreciate you snitching. On the other hand it is important that your boss knows what is going on, and that it's not you doing a bad job, but your colleague. And if she's good, she might even change things. So think it over, and decide whether or not to talk to your boss.


3. Should I talk to my colleague?

Also whether or not to talk to your colleague is a trade off. You might offend your colleague and things could get worse. But it also might create a bit more understanding between you and that could really improve your situation.


There are some steps you could follow to make it a succes:

  • Show empathy. Try to understand why your colleague works like he does. What are his reasons?

  • Tell what is bothering you and emphasise why that is difficult for you, not what your colleague does wrong. Be specific. ‘I find it difficult that customers only get an answer after five days, because I get a lot of angry reactions.’

  • Offer to find a solution: ‘What could we do about this?’

4. Don’t fight facts

Don’t fight facts. Now that’s a lesson for life. Make a clear distinction between what you can influence and what you can not. The things you can’t influence are just facts. Life is full of facts that we don’t like so much, but the weird thing is that, although we can’t do anything about them, we still fight them. And yes, I also do it. A lot. All this fighting sucks up your energy, it creates stress and frustration and it doesn't change anything. So please don’t. If something is a fact, stop thinking about it.


Chances are that your colleague will never change. So if you decide to stay in your job, just let it go and do your job as well as you can, whatever your colleague does.


Do you need more?

Having an inadequate colleague can really compromise your work satisfaction. Tips in a blog can be a good start, but only coaching can make a real difference. Did you like this blog? I coach people with difficult colleagues and with other problems at work. Why not have a look at my website fromsurvivingtothriving.nl or contact me for a free coaching consultation?


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