Managers use laziness as a reason why employees don’t do a good job or complete tasks they are assigned. Maybe you have uttered the accusation, “(S)he’s just lazy!” Some believe that people in general are lazy
I couldn’t disagree more! People are passionate, driven and intelligent beings! We even see those with great physical and mental limitations accomplish great things. (Like the world-renown pianist who has only four fingers total!)
That drive to contribute, accomplish and succeed is in every person – it may just be buried deeply behind a lifetime of bad experiences, of hearing words that beat up the self-confidence and a barrage of media messages that promulgate mediocrity.
Any employee who works for you has worked other places before, has interacted with friends and family, and has received messages about what they can accomplish and what is acceptable and expected – for years.
Laziness is defined as averse or disinclined to work, activity, or exertion and slow-moving and sluggish. Why would someone act this way?
1. Failing to do the work in a previous job did not bring any negative results and they continued to get a paycheck. They watched others work hard and get paid the same thing or be given more work to do.
2. They’ve worked hard in the past to reach a particular goal and failed, received harsh criticism for doing so, and were not given any coaching or a second chance.
3. They have grown up in a generation who believes they are entitled to a great life and it’s easy to get there – just watch TV and pay attention to the messages, and it’s no surprise.
4. They have never found their passion, gotten really excited about the mission or goals of a company and have never had a leader that connected with them enough to ignite this excitement.
5. No one has ever “forced” them to be successful, by pushing them out of their comfort zone and providing a safety net to assist in their success.
6. They have never worked with a boss who took the time to get to know them, what is important to them and where they are coming from – in order to help them feel part of the team and work to their strengths.
I’m sure there are many reasons why someone would appear “Lazy,” and these are just a few. Below are suggestions of how you, as the manager, might address an employee who acts lazy for these reasons.
1. No negative results in the past. Ensure you are clearly setting expectations, explaining consequences and holding them accountable. Take the time to provide the routine accountability, insist they report on their successes and failures and require they give you an idea of what they can do differently to continue to improve.
2. Past failures. Celebrate success and hard work. Even little bits of success and small steps in the right direction should be acknowledged by you – as should little failures and small steps in the wrong direction – receive coaching and redirection.
3. Entitlement. Realize that your employees may have a different mindset, and may not have grown up in a strong environment to teach them otherwise. Do you as the manager have to act like a parent? In the role of imparting values, yes, sometimes you do.
4. Lack of Passion. Share the mission and goals, get them talking about them (notice I did not say that you should talk about them), require they come up with good ideas and show them through leading by example what passion looks like (this means all your managers need to do so, not just you if you are the top dog).
5. Force Success. No matter how small, require they do tasks and activities outside their comfort zone, check in with them before they have a chance to fail to redirect them if necessary, and help them to taste success! Your involvement will become less as time goes on.
6. Bad boss. The best bosses expect great things, demand excellence, impart passion and excitement and most importantly, connect with their people. They realize that the best processes and systems in the world will have limitations if they cannot engage their people. Engaging them means taking the time to build a relationship, but a relationship is a two way street – they also insist the employee does their part!
Have you had an experience where you thought an employee was lazy, but were able to uncover a great employee using techniques like those listed above?