October 24, 2013 5:31 AM Subscribe
How best to work with people who are scatty and disorganised?
posted by Ziggy500 to work & money (8 answers total) 8 users marked this as a favorite
I work in a public sector organisation. I am a mid-level person - not junior, but not at managerial level. I have to manage various projects.
My job involves working closely with different people on a number of different projects. I am having difficulty right now with 2 of these people. 1 is very senior to me. 1 works at a slightly junior level to me. They're very different, but the thing they have in common is that they are kind of disorganised.
The senior member of staff
- Doesn't do the work that she has promised to do (and that no one else has the expertise to do) because she is really busy
- Gets angry when I remind her that this work is due
- Gets frazzled and ends up making major errors
I need to report to external parties about the work. So whenever she makes a mistake, the onus of fixing the error falls on me.
The junior colleague is disorganised in a different way; he is enormously chatty and genial, and has a really short attention span. This means it's impossible to have a serious conversation with him about work stuff because he gets so easily distracted by non-work tangents, and it's hard to bring him back on track without coming across as unpleasant. I find myself getting really frustrated during meetings when this guy decides to go on a completely irrelevant tangent about something, but I don't feel able to tell him to focus because I am not in a position of authority over him (or anyone). Because we are friendly outside work, and like to hang out, I think that he doesn't consider our meetings to be 'serious work business' - he thinks 'Oh, Ziggy is my pal, she'll love to hear my feelings on Breaking Bad.'
My line manager is aware of my issues and often goes over emails and telephone 'scripts' with me to make sure that they are the right level of polite but urgent.
But I thought the hivemind could give me some suggestions of how better to work with colleagues like this as well.
I am not exactly the Perfect Employee but I AM organised and I like things to feel under control. The problem with my job is that often I feel so dependent on other people doing their work on time that when they don't, I feel really powerless and frustrated.
Other possibly relevant details: Although this job is challenging, I love it and feel productive and appreciated here. For the most part the atmosphere is very happy-clappy 'we're all in this together'; but it remains a very hierarchical place to work where everyone is aware of where they stand on the pecking order.