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Chapter 23. Dealing with the Procrastina... > Procrastinators in the Workplace - Pg. 246

Dealing with the Procrastinators Around You 246 Procrastinators in the Workplace Getting your own work done is hard enough, but what about those people who turn the workplace into Procrastination Central? They make your job even harder. You may end up having last-minute assignments dumped on your desk or have to take on an extra heavy workload to make up for coworkers or subordinates who don't do their share. Whether the procrastinators are at your job or in a business you run or they are people you deal with while doing volunteer work or serving on committees in your professional community, there are special techniques to use to maintain not only your sanity, but also your job security. When You're Not the Boss Action Tactic For more ideas on making changes at work when you're not in a position of authority, read Getting Things Done When You Are Not in Charge by Geoffrey Bellman. Lydia is a secretary whose boss always gives her assignments at the last minute with very little instruction, and then flips out when she's even the least bit late turning them in. Janet is the manager of a computer help desk in a major corporation. Whenever she tells her manager she wants to discuss a new procedure that would improve the help desk technicians' productivity and internal customer service, he says he'll get to it later. By the time he gets around to listening to her and approving the implementation of the new idea, she's had to bear the brunt of complaints and crises that have arisen from the old procedures. Having a procrastinator as a boss is a little like having a dysfunctional parent. You have to take on more responsibility than your position warrants and possibly more than your skills and experience make feasible. When everything comes crashing down, you're the one who gets penalized, when in fact the boss's procrastination is really to blame. If you're experiencing this situation, rest assured that there are steps you can take to rectify the situation: · Make sure you're not the problem. Before assuming that your manager's procrastination is fully to blame for your own difficulty in getting your work done, think about any role you might be playing in the situation. You can't expect to sit back and be told what to do every step of the way. You have to take responsibility for finding out what needs to be done and when and how to do it. · Realize that you can have some control over the situation even if you're not officially in a position of power. You provide a service that your managers depend on, so making your working con- ditions conducive to getting things done is in their best interests. · When discussing the problem with your boss, keep the focus professional, not personal. Rather than making statements that start with phrases like, "You are ...," "You should be more ...," or "You do ...," talk instead about how you want to change systems and procedures. In other words, don't make personal attacks (even ones that you think are pretty gentle); do discuss how policies and procedures could be different. Even if the boss is the procrastinator behind those faulty procedures, you don't need to humiliate or alienate him or her by calling attention to that fact.