What Should I Do About A Co-worker’s Mistakes!


I have an issue at my workplace. One of my coworker is not doing his job properly. What should I do about this situation? Please reply. Regards.


Upset Worker


DearĀ Upset Worker:

Usually co-workers should not criticize or tell each other how to do a job unless asked or unless how a job is being done can cause harm to themselves or others. Nor should they tattle to the supervisor. Are there other ways to correct a co-worker’s performance? Possibly. First you should ask yourself, how serious is the problem. Is it simply a different way or is it bad for internal or external customers? What about the way he does his job upsets you? Is his work careless or simply that he does not work as you do? Is there a job description that is not being followed?

Is this individual doing a job that affects yours? If so, you then have a right to explain how it can be done so that it meets standards. Explain clearly with an example. How you approach a co-worker can annoy or be accepted as being helpful.

Start by asking permission such as: “If I see something that can make your work more effective, do you want me to tell you? Or “Is it ok for me to show you the way you should do ________?” Or “Do you mind if I make a suggestion about doing your job?” Or “I have a problem with ________ when it comes to me this way. Do you see why?” Use your own wording. Also pick a time that it is private so that others, including your supervisor, do not see this. Speak in a pleasant and quiet voice, but do not whisper as though you are disclosing a secret. If it is complex, speak slowly, repeat in a summary, and ask him if it is ok for you to watch him doing it the way you explain. Also you might have 1,2,3 steps in writing to help with your explanation.

What is your relationship with this co-worker? Are you on friendly terms? Do you greet each other? Have you ever told him something that he is doing is well done? Do you ever offer to help him? Is there a way you might make his job easier? Have you asked his advice about your job?

An indirect approach is asking your supervisor if she/he is happy with your workgroup’s performance and if there might be a benefit in focusing a staff meeting on quality improvement. For example: Does your work group ever talk about working together as a team and how you might make each other’s job easier, more effective, and how you might cut wasted time, supplies, or effort? Have you as a group talked about how you might make your working together lighthearted and fun without shortchanging your effectiveness? Doing so, even one-on-one with a co-worker, is worth a try. Work can be stressful, boring, and meaningless unless we find ways to be creative or lighthearted about it. Right?

Will you let us know what you choose to do, and if it works or doesn’t? Think creatively. Think positive thoughts. Don’t become obsessed with a co-worker’s mistakes unless they really are a problem. Do focus on your own work and on being a quiet cheerleader. Think how you might transform your work group into a WEGO team.

William Gorden