Office Coach: If Co-workers Can’t Meet Deadlines, Don’t Accept Their Work
Q: Every month, I publish an internal newsletter containing articles submitted by 10 employees from different parts of the company. This information is always due on the first of the month, but two of my “reporters” never meet the deadline. Sending them reminders doesn’t help at all. As a result, I have to delay publication of the newsletter until their material finally arrives. This not only creates issues with printing and delivery, but it also makes me look bad. How can I make my reminders more effective?
A: People who ignore deadlines drive their more-organized colleagues absolutely nuts. Unfortunately, new and improved reminders are not likely to be the solution. As long as you continue accepting late material, these inconsiderate co-workers will continue ignoring your pleas.
Instead, you must take your power back by refusing to let the stragglers dictate your schedule. Inform all reporters that the publication deadline will now be strictly enforced, even if some articles are missing. If you stick to your guns, either the procrastinators will learn to be more prompt, or you will learn that they need to be replaced.
Previously, you may have rejected this approach because you fear having empty pages. The solution is to create a workable back-up plan. Locate substitute material to use as a replacement. Simplify layout adjustments by putting the tardy people at the end. If these are regular features, insert a note indicating they were not available.
If they remain unreliable, the ultimate solution is to find some new reporters.
Marie G. McIntyre is a workplace coach and author.