So those suckers are STILL hanging around? Did you try the suggestions I already gave you? OK. Let’s try a few more things.
Make Them Irrelevant
People generally like to be acknowledged for their work. Don’t fall for it. You’re better than that.
- If they produce something good, keep their name off it. It helps of you can isolate them from anyone higher in the food chain as well. That way there is no chance they might accidentally get credit for their work.
- Ask them to attend meetings in your place, but don’t allow them to actually have any authority or a voice in decision making. Ask them to report to you on what happened. Question them thoroughly, as if to imply you don’t believe they went. Asking for a written report is even better. But don’t read it. Instead ask or a verbal summary when it is presented.
- Hire a second person to do essentially the same job. If they question you, raise an eyebrow and say, “so, I don’t need both of you? Interesting…” They’ll stop.
This is going to sound like a lot of effort on your part, but hear me out. It’s a great trick for those stubborn “dedicated” employees.
- Demand that any assignments you give them must be reviewed by you before anyone else sees them. Then when they bring the work to you,
modifyimprove it in a way that not only changes the material but, if possible, completely alters the content. That Q4 financial report? It would save you a ton of work on the Forecasting assignment your boss handed down. But you can’t present the same material twice, of course, so that financial bit will have to be redone. And if it is too good to use…see above.
- If for some reason they ask for your feedback, criticize the grammar or, better yet, the font, but nothing else. Unless, of course, they use Comic Sans. Then just let it ride.
- On the off chance you do read their work, and you do find a mistake, wait until after the material has been distributed to say anything about it. Claim you left them a voicemail or, better yet, a text. Then you’ll be helpful and tech savvy.
A classic. Give them hope, but never anything they could hold against you. Here are some examples. Feel free to write them on your hand in times of open rebellion.
- “I’m really proud of the work you’re doing. I’m going to try to get you a little something extra for your effort.”
- “I know you’ve taken on work that isn’t yours, but you’ve got a great knack for it. I’d love to see us move you to a role where you can really focus on it. How does that sound?”
- “When talent review time rolls around, we are sure going to talk about you!”
If these things don’t convince them to leave you alone, we’ll have to resort to more extreme measures. I think we all hope it doesn’t come to that, so get to work!