We’ve probably all been saddled with lazy co-workers at one time or another. Those colleagues who just never seem to do very much work, but spend the day on the phone, on long lunches, and frequent coffee breaks. “Just wait until I’m the boss,” we seethed.
And now, we’re the boss! And it’s time to give those lazy employees another look. Maybe – just maybe – it’s not that they’re lazy; rather they are just much more efficient than all your other employees at getting stuff done. They are the ones who find the shortcuts, the optimal process, who are actually more productive than those busy worker bees who are drowning in frenetic activity.
So when you have an effective employee who seems lazy, learn from them. They may have more highly developed skills that you need to share with other employees. They may not be bored, but deep in thought about how to improve your business. Change your perspective, and you may gain a valuable resource. Here are ways to leverage your lazy workers:
- If they seem distracted, they may need faster-paced and more challenging work to keep them focused
- If they are idle, enlist them to help others become more productive.
- Push them to do more. Create bigger challenges, higher targets, and stretch goals that let them reach new heights.
- If your team is facing a big challenge, a new assignment, or unpleasant chore, give it to your lazy employee and watch them find the easiest way to get it done.
Of course, we’re talking about those lazy employees who meet their goals and objectives, but just never seem to work very hard at it. Employees who do not meet their goals and objectives are not just lazy – they’re ineffective and the topic of a different blog altogether!
That is why it is so important to understand the difference between engaged and disengaged employees, and not just judge them simply for the busy-ness (or lack thereof) that you can observe. Engaged employees care about your business and are always working to improve it. Disengaged employees are working against you. It is important to discern between disengagement and apparent laziness.
So the next time you judge an employee, co-worker, or even leader as lazy – take another look. They might just be your next great improvement or competitive advantage!