Slacking co-workers cause a quarter of their hard-working colleagues to put in four to six more hours of work each week, according to new research from the New York Times best-selling authors of Crucial Confrontations.
The online survey of 549 people found that goodwill isn't the only victim in this situation productivity, satisfaction and quality also suffer. In fact, four out of five say the quality of their work declines when they have to pick up their co-workers' slack a huge potential blow to the bottom line when you consider that 93 percent have a co-worker who doesn't do his or her fair share.
With such a great toll on resources, what do the majority of employees do when faced with slacking co-workers? Unfortunately, not much. The study shows that only 10 percent speak up and hold their underperforming colleagues accountable to their bad behavior.
The top five reasons employees list for biting their tongues:
1. They don't believe what they say will make a difference
2. They don't want to undermine the working relationship
3. It's not their place
4. They fear retaliation
5. They don't know how to approach the conversation
Joseph Grenny, co-author of Crucial Confrontations, says employees often avoid holding others accountable for bad behavior due to fear of the potential risks of speaking up, while failing to consider the risks of not speaking up.
"Those who are best at holding their colleagues accountable realize that if they don't share their concerns with a slacking co-worker, they will have to live with the consequences that result from holding back their informed opinions, such as low productivity, lost revenue and strained relationships," says Grenny.
Grenny says when we fail in our attempts to hold others accountable, it's often because we rely on ineffective strategies such as couching, relying on nonverbal cues, passing the buck or asking others to read our mind.
Grenny offers five tips for candidly and respectfully holding co-workers accountable for bad behavior:
1. Suspend judgments and get curious. Perhaps your co-worker is unaware of the effects of his or her actions. Enter the conversation as a curious friend rather than an angry co?worker.
2. Make it safe. Don't start by diving into the issue. Establish safety by letting your co-worker know you respect him or her and reminding him or her of the mutual goals you share.
3. Share facts and describe the gap. Start with the facts of the issue and strip out accusatory, judgmental and inflammatory language. Then, describe the gap between what was expected and what was delivered.
4. Tentatively share concerns. Having laid out the facts, tell your co-worker why you're concerned. Help your co-worker see the natural consequences of his or her actions.
5. Invite dialogue. Next, ask if he or she sees the problem differently. If you are open to hearing others' points of view, they'll be more open to yours.