How to Get Your Slacker Co-worker to Meet a Deadline

It’s happened to all of us: you are in a great, creative team that is preparing a presentation to amaze the company’s new client; everything is ready with the exception of one colleague’s part - he is a week late. And now you are debating whether or not to email him saying “hey, sorry to bother you but when do you think we can expect this? - you are afraid that you are going to sound rude, and you don’t want to be rude with your coworkers especially when they are part of your team. But what if the manager believes you all (yes, including you) don’t understand deadlines and fail to be on time?

I know, as a very organized and motivated individual you feel that in order to reach your own goals you need to do something about this. So, how do you get your slacker coworker meet a deadline, without nagging him?

1. Compliment Them

man complimenting woman

So, if you were given a task to do would you do that task if you thought it was pointless? Of course not - unless you were an intern, especially when that task would require a ton of energy and extra time. So, if you want to assign work to someone or ask them to do their part, make sure to clarify why they are the perfect person to complete the task.

If you manage to turn that assignment into a compliment, that person will want to get it well done as soon as possible.

2. You Are in This Together

By sending repetitive, annoying emails saying “did you do this?” you will only infuriate your coworker and make you sound like a demanding micromanager that does not trust their coworkers.

Don’t just command your coworker to do that task and finish it as soon as possible; show him that you are in this together. If they are struggling with getting it done on time, sit with them to find a solution. You could break the task down into smaller parts and set a realistic timeframe for each segment of the project to make the final deadline more attainable and harder to ignore.

3. Explain Why It's Urgent


Have you ever noticed how even when you tell someone you need something urgently they still take their time to do it at their own pace? Why does this happen, you ask? Well, that’s because by telling them that it’s urgent they don’t know what urgent means - when it needs to get done by, how important it is and so on.

If you say, for example, that the task needs to be completed by Thursday because you have that new client’ meeting first thing Friday morning will make them better understand the deadline. They will know exactly when you need it by, why you are in a rush and how important it is to the company.

See Also: Team-Building Activities

Can you think of any other ways to get your slacker coworker meet their deadline without annoying the heck out of them? Let us know your tips in the comments section below.