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confronting coworkers about not pulling their weight


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Old 17th April 2014, 4:12 AM   #1
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confronting coworkers about not pulling their weight

what is the best way to do this, in your experience?

I designed a course with another student in my department. it is a valuable teaching experience for us as graduate students but she is not doing nearly as much administrative stuff as I am and even when I assign her tasks, and she knows that the task was assigned to her (or she agrees to do a task) she either doesn't do it in a timely manner, or asks if i am going to do it. I got the sense from watching her work with others that she likes to take lead on things but then not do the work, and this experience is only solidifying that sentiment.

I am thinking about saying something to our advisor (who is also a co-instructor for the course, but who has given us reign over everything) about how I am overwhelmed and she isn't pulling her weight, but I kind of feel like I should go to her first as she is a friend of mine.

It's just that I've hinted to her so many times that this is taking over my life and I need to get other work done, yet she still doesn't do more than the bare minimum. Maybe I need to be more direct and just say that we need to have a talk about dividing administrative load because I feel like I am doing too much? I just don't want to come off as accusatory, even though I do think she's being lazy.
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Old 17th April 2014, 8:06 AM   #2
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Confront is a bad, angry word. I would talk to the other person & I'd have documentation. If you have talked to the person & that hasn't resulted in changed behavior you have to speak to your advisor because this your grade. Again, you need emperical evidence not just your complaints.
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Old 17th April 2014, 1:55 PM   #3
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I agree with d0nnivain,
You need to keep detailed records of everything you have delegated/done and what she has/hasn't done. Dates/times/info on work etc.

Once you have a big enough dossier you'll have something to go to your supervisor with.

Also, stop hinting and start asking ( and record when you did this and her response) this isn't accusatory, it's being assertive.
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Old 17th April 2014, 2:01 PM   #4
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Originally Posted by Arieswoman View Post
You need to keep detailed records of everything you have delegated/done and what she has/hasn't done. Dates/times/info on work etc.

Once you have a big enough dossier you'll have something to go to your supervisor with.
I have an experience doing this where it backfired...

I was working as a catering manager at a very large, prestigious venue. There were two other managers and after six months, I kept very detailed records on the fact that I was booking and managing FOUR TIMES the number of events than the other two in my department.

I went to the Director with this fact and it looked like I was trying to undermine my co-workers. They asked why I didn't come to them earlier with the disparity when the workload was noticed; i.e., why did I spend all this time creating this documentation instead of coming to them to help with the work...

I would go to your supervisor first - in a matter of some supplication - and ask them for guidance on how to deal with the situation. It will empower your manager and shows that you are looking out for the benefit of the organization by trying to be mindful of costs, etc.

Last edited by CarrieT; 17th April 2014 at 4:25 PM..
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Old 17th April 2014, 4:54 PM   #5
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Thanks everyone. I sent a list out yesterday afternoon with all the tasks we needed to accomplish, and which tasks each person has to do by this morning. This was cc'ed to my advisor.

I did all of my tasks, and pretty much all of her's because she hasn't done anything. my advisor is cc'ed on all the correspondence showing that i completed tasks (a lot of the tasks were sending emails, things like that). she came by my office this morning and said she was working on a draft to send to our collaborators but as far as i know that message has not been sent to anyone yet.

We are meeting tomorrow about something else so I am going to tell her that I feel overwhelmed and want to organize, distribute, and make deadlines for our workload. I am going to inform my advisor that we had this discussion, because my advisor might be able to help us or also do some of the administrative things we're doing.
I imagine this will be a productive conversation and I will give her a week to step it up. If she doesn't than I will express my concerns more fully to my advisor. Do you think this sounds ok?
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Old 17th April 2014, 4:56 PM   #6
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I did all of my tasks, and pretty much all of her's because she hasn't done anything.
Two questions:

1. Did you ask her about her tasks before doing them? (If so, was there a response? - If not, WHY?)

2. Did you advise your supervisor before completing her tasks?
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Old 17th April 2014, 6:54 PM   #7
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Two questions:

1. Did you ask her about her tasks before doing them? (If so, was there a response? - If not, WHY?)

2. Did you advise your supervisor before completing her tasks?
Yes. after our class (tuesday evening) we sat down and divided tasks and agreed upon who was doing what. it was a conversation, really. One of them was an email to update our advisor on the class and what we're doing next (so it had our divided task list in it).

2. my advisor knew I was supposed to do ABC and the other student was supposed to do XYZ. it was in the email (one of my tasks) to my advisor and another prof. collaborating with us for the class. I didn't tell my advisor the other girl failed to do the tasks before i did the tasks though.

I know I need to stand my ground and I am going to for now one...it's just that i want to make sure my students have the best educational experience and her procrastination is going to make both of us look bad, while my hard work is now making us both look good.

the task we divided were all things that needed to get done ASAP for the sake of the students we are teaching so I just wanted it to get done. and last night she kept making excuses or avoiding the topic altogether in our email exchange or when she called me to talk sort of about the class and other random stuff (again, we are friends). for example, there was a list of topics we wrote on the board during the class and instead of transcribing it in her notebook she put it in mine while I was talking to a student after class...and she didn't tell me that I had the notes, even though she knew she was supposed to send the notes out to students and VOLUNTEERED to send the notes. She volunteered immediately after she transcribed it and I finished talking to the student, as that is when we had our meeting). I didn't find out I had the notes until 10pm last night, when she responded to my group email (just to me), "you know you have the list right? I put it in your notebook."

So I just sent the group email out because me typing it and asking her to send it after i sent it to her would've taken an extra 2 days. talk about a major fail.
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Old 17th April 2014, 7:01 PM   #8
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Originally Posted by MissTrudy View Post
2. my advisor knew I was supposed to do ABC and the other student was supposed to do XYZ. it was in the email (one of my tasks) to my advisor and another prof. collaborating with us for the class. I didn't tell my advisor the other girl failed to do the tasks before i did the tasks though.
So this was your big mistake; you need to at least tell your advisor that you are about to do XYZ and if you have time-stamped emails verifying the timeliness of the situation, you are creating a paper trail of your actions and the other girl's inactions.

Here is the next question: What would realistically happen if you stop doing this other person's work? Seriously... Yes, other people are relying on getting the info, but in some ways, you are enabling her by doing her work. Let her fail and let her inactions impact your advisor now that he/she knows of the situation.
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Old 17th April 2014, 11:19 PM   #9
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Kudos to you for not blowing a gasket already, but you owe it to yourself to instate your boundaries and be respected.


Sit her down and tell her, as a friend, to cut the crap.
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