I am currently working with an incredibly lazy and disorganised person who doesn’t like to do the work and, unless they are constantly nudged. They spend their energy providing lots of defensive comments about why the work hasn’t been done or why the work isn’t necessary. They do not put any effort into reviewing their own work, so what comes back is often substandard and has to be redone.
Clearly, it is a very frustrating situation (luckily, it is a short-term assignment!), so you might wonder how I can find the positives in this negative situation.
My first positive is that difficult people are a constant in our lives, so this is an opportunity to improve my coping mechanisms.
Working with this person has broadened my leadership style. My natural style is to empower people by only giving an outline of what has to be achieved, leaving them to define for themselves how they will deliver the work. However, in this case, this approach is failing me. I have had to learn to be incredibly specific about what is required.
This has helped me refine my ability to define the quality criteria upon which the work will be acceptable so that if it does not meet the criteria, then I can immediately point to what is missing and ask for it to be amended.
This is helping me develop my skills in developing these criteria. It is not easy because it means stepping into the future, thinking through how the work is going to be used and by whom to identify what good looks like.
I have to think about other work that this work is an input for to identify the minimum standards for the content, the format and the style. I’m looking for a logical flow so that others use the work, and I’m looking for the source of the content so that it can be verified (always useful in a world of fake news).
This approach is helping me be more specific and to think about how the work is going to be tested before it is even created. It helps me empathise with the users because the criteria I am identifying summarises their needs.
Overall, a challenging situation, but I suspect that this situation will stay with me for a long time because of the strong impact it is having on my style when I commission work. What do you think the positives are from this? Please share in the comments, I would love to hear your ideas.