Oct 30, 2006

On slackers in the workplace

Astha at Evolving Ideas: Stop the Cannibalism! talks about the phenomenon of tolerating the slackers and asks "what behavior are we rewarding? What behaviors are getting penalized? What priorities do my actions convey to my team?"

I'd like to step back and ask another question.

Why are some people slackers?
Obviously, either because they lack the skills to do the job (and are scared to admit it) or because they have the skills but are disengaged.

Or as we in HR choose to put it - is it a will or a skill issue?

A skill issue is relatively easier to diagnose and correct.
However, a will issue takes the patience of the manager and often such a decision is postponed resulting in the culture of tolerance that Astha speaks about.

Often managers have themselves to blame for the will issue. The roots can be as basic as mismatch of expectations at the time of recruitment. Or even inadequate goal planning or unclear performance management.

How clear is your managerial conversation with your team members?

Are people agreeing because it the culture of the society or the organization to do so?

Some people might need more monitoring because they are new to their jobs. Others might resent such monitoring. Do you know who these sets of people are? [Read Situational Leadership for more details]