How to Motivate the Slacker on Your Team

Why is it that, in school, so many professors seem to love assigning group projects? They claim that group projects prepare you for many workplace situations. Ugh. As much as I hate group projects, I know they’re right. In real life, the workplace often requires team effort, and along with a group project often comes that one person who just doesn’t hold up his or her end of the responsibilities. It’s frustrating when you depend on someone else to do their part and they don’t come through. But changing teammates isn’t an option–you’re pretty much stuck with your co-workers! And you can’t change jobs every time you don’t get the support you need. So how do you handle the situation?

If you’re a perfectionist like me and your reputation (or job!) is at stake, your mode of operation is probably to take on a ridiculous amount of responsibility to make sure the job gets done properly. But afterwards, you feel stressed and possibly even resentful. Is there a way to more fully engage team members without burning yourself out?

Yes, says Adam Grant–there are several ways you can motivate your colleagues. Here’s a brief synopsis of his seven wise suggestions for getting team members to carry their weight:

1) Make the task more meaningful so they feel their work really matters.
2) Show them what their peers are doing–peer pressure works, studies show.
3) Shrink the group to increase the team member’s sense of responsibility.
4) Assign unique responsibilities so they don’t feel their work is redundant.
5) Make individual inputs visible so people can’t hide behind the crowd.
6) Build a stronger relationship to increase their sense of responsibility toward you.
7) Ask them for advice on how to get team members to contribute more!

Whether you are a team member who’s stuck with a slacker, or an employer who wants to boost the motivation level of one of your team members, don’t miss reading Grant’s full article. His seven recommendations are supported by relevant research, which probably comes from his book on how to motivate people to contribute: Give and Take: A Revolutionary Approach to Success. Maybe it’ll be your next good read!

Forget about motivating others–what about motivating yourself? Read these 10 tips that work!

By Marcianne Kuethen

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