Be honest, you’ve silently wished for the day your co-worker “Joe” (not his real name of course) would hear two little words that would make your life SO much easier.

Once you realize you’ve spent more time dreaming about “Joe” hearing, “You’re Fired” than wondering who Donald Trump will offend next on the campaign trail, it’s time to quit watching “The Apprentice” reruns and start planning your approach.

  1. Offer a Hand. Offer a What?!? Trust me I realize the only help you probably want to give “Joe” is to pack up his desk. But until management decides to take that path, it’s your responsibility as a team member to play nice. Think of it like this: Being shunned at work sucks when things are going well….and it really sucks when you add performance problems to the mix.
  2. Mind your Own Business. At the risk of being overly blunt (sorry I’m a direct communicator!) “Joe’s” performance is likely none of your business. Instead of spending all sorts of time and energy trying to imagine what office life could be like without him, put that same enthusiasm into your daily assignments and you may just be surprised what you can accomplish!
  3. Consider what you Don’t Know. I know it’s hard to image but it’s quite possible that your boss (and maybe even your bosses boss!) are aware that “Joe” isn’t really doing a great job on your project. But it’s also quite likely that they have a very good reason for not showing him the door. Perhaps he has a unique skill set that’s hard to replace. Or maybe he is having some personal issues and they are trying to be supportive while he works through them. Regardless, chances are pretty strong that you don’t know everything (or perhaps even anything!) about dear old “Joe”!
  4. Tell and Run. If you absolutely believe that no one in management is aware of the urgent need for “Joe” to be relieved of their duties, then and only then it may be time to share your concerns with management. But here’s the tricky part, it’s absolutely critical you share your info in a calm professional manner and then…walk away and focus on doing your own job. Why? Because while most bosses appreciate a heads up once, continued efforts to get “Joe” fired do one of two things. You’ll end up looking like a trouble-maker or potentially worse…someone that has no confidence in management to handle the situation. Neither of which are a quick career path to the C-Suite.
  5. Ignore. Six little letters can certainly be a big challenge. But sometimes it’s simply best to ignore something rather than be consumed by it. Once you’ve offered to help, considered what you may not know and talked to management, there may literally be nothing else you can do. Never a fun option for sure!
  6. Dust off that CV. I know it’s absolutely ludicrous that you should leave a job you enjoy because “Joe” is incompetent. But trust me you’re much better off moving on than burning down over something you can’t control.

So what approach will you take?