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Help! My Peer Isn't Pulling His Weight

Dear Ron,
One of my colleague's skills are really just not up to snuff, and furthermore, he doesn't even work that hard, causing our overall group's results to suffer. My company really values group solidarity and loyalty so I don't want to call him out to my boss, but I'm starting to get really frustrated. What should I do?
The best way to handle this is to subtly lay things out for your boss so that she comes to the conclusion herself about whose work needs to improve or be bypassed, without you having to point it out directly. You might go to her and say that you've been reviewing how to get better results, and so you've identified some areas where things are going well and some where they could be improved. To show you're sincere about trying to make things better and not simply targeting this person, you should also highlight some areas where you yourself would like to improve your work. And this should allow your boss to probe a little further and figure out what's going on.

Once you've painted this picture for your boss, you should consider your job done. If you're asked directly if so-and-so is a problem, try to give a strictly objective and results-oriented response, as opposed to revealing any kind of personal like or dislike. As you mentioned, your company values solidarity and so for your own career prospects there, you don't want to be seen as someone who can't work with all different types of people.

One of my clients was a director at an energy company who had a peer whose skills were not up to the demanding re-organization that was taking place at their company. But this colleague was a long-time employee of the firm and it was a fairly tight work group, so my client couldn't do much to get rid of him directly. So he discussed with his boss how the group was doing and asked for some additional resources in a few areas. When my boss's client asked why they were needed, my client told him that these were areas where they'd been getting slowed down--these were, of course, the areas his colleague was responsible for.

Subsequently, my client's boss redirected this colleague to work on other tasks, and my client was allowed to pick a new and stronger player to add to his team. For my client's boss, his desire to get better results ultimately outweighed the value of maintaining harmony and continuing to support this weak performer. So he redirected that person's efforts, and gave my client the additional resources to go in and dramatically improve the group's performance. That's a good strategy for you to try to follow as well.

Read More Power Plays From Ron Brown:
My Main Supporter Has Left My Company
Help! I Need a Mentor
My Boss Doesn't Listen To Me
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Send Ron your career and job-related questions.

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