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How to Turn Around the Attitude of a Lazy Employee

Every office has that one or two employees who spend more time taking breaks than at completing their tasks. To a business owner or a manager, these are the most frustrating employees ever. While frustration is the obvious and primal reaction, a more intelligent reaction would be to dig into the reason behind their laziness. Based on analysis of the data from the various training programs and customized interventions we have conducted, we have identified that their invariably two kinds of lazy employees.

Type 1: The ones who have the skill to be more productive

Type 2: The ones who lack the skill and exhibit laziness because of a lack of confidence in their abilities

The type 1 Lazy Employee
The most frustrating thing about this kind of an employee is that he is capable of so much but he doesn’t even make the effort to scratch the surface. It is beyond irksome. But such employees are not lazy because they can’t do anything. It is essential that take a little time to find out what is holding them back. We have found that there are three major reasons why they get caught in that zone of laziness.

Reason 1: Lack of a challenge

The skilled have an innate need to be challenged. The more they learn and do, the more they want to learn or do. When you have such an employee on your team, he or she needs to be challenged at all times. Leave him or her in a repetitive task, they will find the best way to do it really quickly and spend the rest of their work time being lazy.

How to handle the situation

This is quite simple actually. Give him or her a challenge. Involve them in a project that needs them to apply their mind and time. Encourage them to come up with solutions and hand them more responsibilities. The more engaged they are in their work, the more productive they will be.

Reason 2: Lack of direction

The question why brings the answer to many challenges. However, when the why isn’t answered, it causes a lot of trouble. Sometimes, a skilled employee who could be doing a lot more does not because he has no clear answer to this why. He does not get the purpose behind the task he has been handed. He does not get the importance of its contribution to the organization on the whole and to himself.

How to handle the situation

Take some time out of the day to spend some time with such an employee face to face. Understand what his or her personal goals are and why he yearns for them. Help him or her sync their personal goals with that of the organization. Take the time to boost his or her motivation levels. Such an employee doesn’t need a boss, he or she needs a mentor. Be that mentor. Drop your guard and invest in his or her growth. The instant these two lines merge, the productivity levels will automatically rise.

Reason 3: Change in leadership

Have you ever seen a high performing individual take a sudden turn to the other end and stop performing? Suddenly, he or she seems to have become very lazy with their work and the result is seen not just in the quantities but also in the quality. In such a situation, make sure you investigate for any changes in his work environment first. We have found a direct link between the drop in performance and a change in leadership.

How to handle the situation

In these situations, the challenge lies in the change in the way the leader addresses a situation and his perspective of business altogether. In such a case, the employee probably finds it hard to make a shift in his approach to adjust to the new style. The only way to counter this is to make a time-bound effort into getting such an employee’s buy-in on the need for such a change in leadership. The instant he or she sees the reason behind the change, they will immediately make an effort to make an adjustment.

The type 2 Lazy Employee
These are the guys who are held behind because they lack the skills they need to get the job done. The important question to ask yourself here is why are they lazy? Is it because they have never been trained for the skills needed? Or is it because they lack the attitude needed to learn the skill required?

If it is the skills they lack but have the will to learn, then with training and some guidance is what they need. That is fairly easy to provide. But if it is the attitude that is a challenge, then your efforts need to be made towards molding his attitude and understanding what makes him tick. Changing an individual’s attitude is not an easy job but with the right focus and intent in mind, it is definitely possible!

Hard decisions have to be made in the world of business but before you make one ensure that you are on point with your understanding of the employee!