10 ways to deal with an unmotivated coworker

Dealing with an unmotivated colleague can be frustrating, but there are ways to address the issue professionally and effectively. We spoke to Amodigo CEO Mike Crofts, who had some thoughts on how you can try to work with someone who is unmotivated.

Here are 10 ways to deal with an unmotivated colleague:


Talk to them: Have an honest conversation with your colleague about your concerns. Approach them with an open mind and listen to their perspective. Be clear about what is expected of them and how their behavior is impacting the team. It’s best to go in with something like, ‘How are you doing? I’m here if you ever want to talk about anything.’ Often, the cause for an unmotivated colleague can be personal issues so avoid putting blame on then or approaching the situation with frustration.


Set clear expectations: Be specific about what tasks need to be done, when they are due, and the level of quality expected. Setting clear expectations can help your colleague understand what they need to do and reduce the likelihood of misunderstandings.


Hold them accountable: Once you have spoken to them to see if something is concerning them, and make it known that there are consequences for not meeting expectations. This could include reducing their workload or involving management if necessary.


Offer support: If your colleague is struggling with personal or professional issues, offer support and resources to help them overcome any obstacles.


Lead by example: Be a role model by setting a positive example of hard work and dedication. 


Encourage teamwork: Encourage your colleague to work collaboratively with others. This can help them feel more engaged and motivated. Perhaps talk to your management team about some team building activities or social events to bring your working relationship closer.


Provide feedback: As a manager, it is important you offer constructive feedback on their work. This can help them improve their skills and performance. If you are a colleague on the same professional level, it is more appropriate to offer help and support rather than feedback.


Focus on the positive: Recognise and acknowledge when your colleague does well. Positive feedback can be a powerful motivator.


Avoid enabling behavior: Don’t cover for your colleague or do their work for them. This only reinforces their bad behavior.


Involve management if necessary: If your colleague’s behavior continues to be a problem, it’s wise to involve management. They can provide additional support and resources to help your colleague improve their performance.