Dealing with an idiot coworker - What can you do?
Have you ever thought "This guy is so stupid? How did he get this job? Who is he related to? Why do I have to work with this dude? This man's mistakes and lack of skills and knowledge is affecting my work. Is he really that dumb? OMG, he is such an
idiot." I definitely have had these thoughts and more about more than one person throughout my work career in Corporate America.
In the workplace, we will all come across people who we wouldn't hire or chose to work with. Some of these individuals we would classify as idiots. They just don't know much, make a lot of mistakes, get extremely defensive when you call them out on their mistakes, refuse help and are experts at the blame game. These fools don't take responsibility for anything. So when dealing with an idiot coworker in Corporate America or elsewhere what can you do?
While idiot coworkers come in all forms (managers, peers and subordinates), let's focus on some things that can be done when your idiot coworker is at the peer level
1. You can report them to management - I would not recommend this as a first resolution
2. You can confront them, call them out for being an idiot and demand that they do better - I wouldn't recommend this as a first resolution either
3. You can change your perspective. Maybe this person isn't as big an idiot as you think and they have so much to offer
4. You can ensure that they fully understand their role and what tasks should be completed and what your expectations are in relation to the work that you all are jointly responsible for
5. You can try to bring them up to speed by offering training
6. You can provide resources such as websites or role documentations for them to train themselves
7. You can stay away from pointless debates and arguments with this person. Just let them win.
8. You can avoid badmouthing and gossiping about this person to others - unless you're talking to the office haters or drama mangers, gossiping will only make you look bad
9. You can mind your business, focus on your job and let him or her be the idiot that he or she is destined to be
10. Or my favorite, You can thank God you are not them and keep it moving
Let's take a look at a few real life idiot coworker case study examples and notes on how we here at FGCC would respond
1. First up is Shawny. Shawny is a grade A idiot. The more you interact with Shawny, the more apparent his incompetence becomes. Shawny lacks technical skills but is well dressed, properly groomed and more or less well liked throughout the organization. Shawny consistently makes mistakes and when you call him out on them, he gets defensive and avoids taking responsibility. He loud talks and tries to pass the blame whenever you approach him. You can't avoid interacting with this grade A coworker idiot Shawny, because your groups are closely aligned and his data feeds into your reports. So how would you deal with your idiot coworker Shawny? Comment below.
2. Next up is CJ. CJ and Shawny are on the same team and rank about the same on the "coworker idiot meter." The difference is CJ is humble. When you call CJ out on his mistakes he is willing to work to get them fixed. CJ is willing to be trained and gain knowledge. CJ is hungry to learn and grow and get better. CJ isn't as well liked throughout the organization and has much less attractive of a professional presence than Shawny. So how would you deal with your idiot coworker CJ?
3. Then there is PP. PP is a fat, sloppy, gap toothed, loud talking mess. The two of you aren't on the same team but he sits close enough where you hear and see his interactions with others. Based on what you hear and see you conclude PP is a grade A coworker idiot. You're out to lunch with a few coworkers who have directly worked with PP and they start to talk about what a coworker idiot he is. So how would you deal with your idiot coworker PP?
So there is no right or wrong answer to the three real life case study examples highlighted above. But let's provide some possible answers. Of course, we would like to see your answers in the comments below.
1. With Shawny, we wouldn't report him to management. They already know he's an idiot but they keep him around because he's fun to be around. We would opt to ensure that Shawny understands our requirements and what is being asked of him and document all requests and follow ups. Shawny is the type of person that CYA files are made for. We would avoid pointless arguments and debates with this idiot and just let this grade A coworker idiot think he won. We would continuously thank God that he blessed us to be us and not him and keep it moving
2. Giving CJs eagerness to learn, we would do everything possible to ensure CJ is brought up to speed. We would want to see CJ win and wouldn't mind helping him get to the level that he needs to be through training and development.
3. With PP we wouldn't do anything more than throw on some headphones and play some music to try to drown this idiot out. He doesn't work on our team so his work doesn't affect our work which doesn't affect our money. We would mind our business and let PP be the idiot that PP was created to be. Also while at lunch we wouldn't join in on the gossip and badmouthing of PP. Petty gossip and badmouthing others isnt going to help anything.
So tell us in dealing with an idiot coworker - what can you do and what have you done? Comment below.