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What's the best way to deal with time abusers in your company?

by , 09 June 2015
Some people always seem to be pushing or missing deadlines, asking for extensions, explaining how the dog ate their work etc. Did you know... If you know what kind of personality quirks your team members have that contribute to their bad behaviour you can help them change?

Let's have a look at the four different types of time abusers and what you can do to get them to up their game...

Four types of chronic time abusers and what you can do

1. The procrastinator
This is the most common type of time abuser, he likely received too much false praise early in his life or career. 'Oh Johnny, that finger painting is amazing! You are the best!' 

But now that he's functioning in the real world, his flaws have been revealed and feels as if everything he does, good or not, is just a sham. So the procrastinator invents a million different reasons to delay judgement day. Sometimes, he'll go so far as to sabotage his own efforts. 

What can you do about him?
Attack his fear of failure. Force the procrastinator to confront his demons. Let him know he doesn't have to worry about you firing him every time you evaluate his work. And, though your feedback may not be as nice as his parent's was, you don't mean for it to be critical. Finally, make him understand you're there to help if he runs into problems he can't resolve himself. You don't have to become the procrastinator's pal and confidant, but it will help if he doesn't live in paralysing fear of disappointing you.

2. The perfectionist 
The perfectionist has unrealistic standards of excellence. Eventually, you'll get excellent work from him, but you may go crazy or broke waiting for it. This person is probably still ashamed he didn't meet unrealistic expectations when he was a child. His perfectionism makes him very difficult to deal with as an adult.

What can you do about him?
Flood the perfectionist with feedback. Expose him to frequent low doses of evaluation: progress reports, updates, etc. This lowers his fear of ultimate disapproval. You can also encourage him to use colleagues for intermediate evaluations, so he doesn't have to worry about showing you his less-than-perfect early drafts.

Keep reading for another two types...

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3. The people pleaser
He'll take on more work than he can handle and cause problems for you and other employees in the process. Projects he was supposed to finish weeks ago sit on his desk… untouched. This person has a problem confronting authority. Abusing time is his way of handling his hidden anger at not being noticed or praised as a child.

What can you do about him?
Consider signing up the people pleaser for assertiveness training. Keep a close eye on his workload to make the requests of others don't consume his time. Tell him, 'If you don't get it as a direct request from me, don't do it.' 

4. The Pre-emptive
This employee doesn't sound like a problem at first. Always ahead of schedule. His work is in far earlier than the deadline. But be careful. The pre-emptive is a potential problem because he'll move onto the next project and won't be available to sort out problems and work with colleagues on earlier assignments. This person is inherently antisocial and probably grew up in an environment where the rules were constantly changing. The pre-emptive learned that if he finished things fast enough, he'd intercept problems and criticism before they start. 

What can you do about him?
Over time, the pre-emptive causes problems with morale, because he isn't aware of how his compulsive need to beat the clock affects others. Make the pre-emptive feel in control by putting him in charge of other people. This will force him to interact with them and take their needs into account. 

Once you identify underlying problems you can deal with them, and then apply the normal time-management techniques. For example, requiring a time abuser to work backward from a deadline will help. What you're doing is forcing him to break down seemingly overwhelming projects into a whole lot of smaller tasks with smaller deadlines you can closely monitor. 

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