The Daily Item, Sunbury, PA

Business

March 25, 2014

Your Office Coach: Complaints won’t avert colleague’s frequent errors

QUESTION: I have been struggling for months to keep up with a steadily increasing workload. My manager recognized the problem and assigned a co-worker to help, but this is doing more harm than good. Although “Rachel“ completes tasks very quickly, she tends to make a lot of errors.

Now, in addition to doing my own work, I have to spend time fixing Rachel’s mistakes. I don’t want to sound unappreciative, but her assistance has actually made my job more difficult. Whenever I mention this to my boss, he immediately defends Rachel. What should I do?

ANSWER: If you can choose what to delegate to your error-prone colleague, you might try giving her tasks which are simpler or more familiar. But if you have no choice about her assignment, perhaps you should rethink the way you handle her mistakes.

As long as you continue to fix her blunders, Rachel will never learn to do things properly. Completing the work yourself only fosters her incompetence, so consider returning the errors to her for correction. While this may take more time initially, it will help Rachel become a more useful assistant.

A third possibility is to revise the way you present this issue to your boss. Based on his defensive reaction, I assume you have been complaining about Rachel’s ineptitude, but a better strategy is to request his help in solving a business problem.

To illustrate the difference, here’s what complaining sounds like: “Rachel makes so many mistakes that she’s really no help at all. She’s fast, but she’s careless, so working with her only makes my job more difficult.“

This is a more effective approach: “I really appreciate your asking Rachel to help out with my heavy workload. My only concern is that her lack of experience limits her ability to do these tasks correctly. Since working with her hasn’t saved any time, I’d like to discuss some other possible solutions.“

Text Only
Business
  • Watercooler: Raised to the roof

    Q: Over 15 years, I have worked my way up the corporate ladder with the same organization. I have been given a raise every year and excellent reviews, as well as several promotions.

    July 25, 2014

  • Career Coach Q&A: job search follow-up; introverts as leaders

    Starting a business:

    Q: I have a stable job that I don't hate, but I have an idea for starting my own business.

    July 25, 2014

  • How to become a leader

    QUESTION: I’ve just been promoted into a leadership role. I’m excited, but also kind of overwhelmed. What do I need to do to be good at my new job?

    July 24, 2014

  • Balancing Act: How much is your time worth? Consider outsourcing some tasks

    Todd Paton has a booming business getting customers noticed on the Web. One tool he uses is generating online press releases to build brand awareness and create links that will send traffic to a customer’s website. But Paton, owner of Paton Internet Marketing, acknowledges that writing the releases is not his strong suit. Rather than spend his time doing it, he hires out the task.

    July 23, 2014

  • The Color of Money: No easy way to get out of debt

    Many people who are deeply in debt are desperate for a quick fix. They ask the question: What can I do to get out of debt?

    July 21, 2014

  • Watercooler: When to speak up if you see problems down the line

    Q: Our organization has hired a new director. I am one of a number of division heads; above us, there's the associate director, and above him is the director. The associate director is feared and disliked for his duplicity and dictatorial nature, though few have come forward because of his vindictiveness.

    July 18, 2014

  • Career Coach: Bringing a purpose-driven spirit to work

    Increasingly, religious beliefs and practices of employees are becoming more evident in the workplace. Religious diversity and concepts of spirituality are more prevalent in organizational settings.

    July 18, 2014

  • Ask the Mompreneur: It’s best to farm out your payroll

    When my husband and I hired our first employee at our Web development company, we had it easy when it came to doing payroll.

    July 17, 2014

  • Protecting against unnecessary losses

    QUESTION: I run a small bar and grill which is open 7 days a week and have to rely on others for some of the shifts. How can I ensure employees have not become my partners?

    July 17, 2014

  • A checklist for keeping you focused at work

    A quick check of Facebook and next thing you know, a half-hour’s passed. Start chatting with a co-worker and suddenly 20 minutes is gone and the report you were supposed to finish by lunch is late.
    Workplace distractions are everywhere, especially in an age of social media and open-plan offices. In the face of so much temptation, accomplishing what you’re paid to do can be tough.

    July 16, 2014

Business Video
Stocks