The situation is as follows:

There are groups of 2 people, every group has its own workload to be done at the end of a working session. One of the co workers chooses "smooth" strategy to perform less work and the 2/3 of the workload falls on its coworker. This "smooth" person works very slowly, extend every action and do not react on direct questions.

Paradoxically, the manager punish the employee who performs more work. Probably, the "smooth" person has some hidden bonds in the management team, thus it is impossible to speak to manager too.

Could some strategies be suggested to improve the situation?

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    You are phrasing your post as a hypothetical question. I don't answer hypothetical questions. I just don't think that asking for hypothetical clarifications to hypothetical questions adds up t anything that's worthwhile. – Vietnhi Phuvan Jun 20 '15 at 6:48
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    @VietnhiPhuvan the question is impersonal, practical, non hypothetical. Cannot agree with you. I made it impersonal to be more universal and useful for others, not just for me. – Ilan Jun 20 '15 at 6:49
  • Did your manager explain why they thought your coworker did a better job than you? – Philip Kendall Jun 20 '15 at 7:25
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    @yochannah I think current question is pointing in a different direction. The other question is asking for ways to implement one of the possible solutions (making lack of effort visible) while this one is asking for strategies to improve the situation (which can include solutions that not imply visualizing the lack of effort). – Project Shepherding Jun 21 '15 at 18:30

First of all, you can lead a horse to the water, but you can't make it drink.

Second, there can be other reasons for the other person not being as productive as you (e.g. lack of training).

That said, if the real problem is a non-cooperative coworker, one strategy is having the workload divided before start working. To let the division be as fair as possible, even if the other person is not willing to cooperate, you can do it this way:

  1. One person creates two sets of independent tasks.
  2. The other person chooses which set of tasks does she want to get done.
  3. Both of you start working.

The following advantages:

  • Since the workload share is agreed beforehand, you set expectations on your coworker about how many work she needs to get done.
  • If a person finishes REALLY SOONER (in your question, 100% sooner) than the other, chances are the division wasn't fair enough. Both of you will take that into account when dividing tasks for the next day.
  • If a person finishes early, but not too much, no big deal. The early finisher can help the other one with the remaining tasks.
  • If the same one person finishes REALLY SOONER than the other, everyday (e.g. five days out of five), you will have data and a clear output to feed a conversation with your manager.
  • Thanks for answering, I think the idea you mentioned about the workload (should be divided) it is very interesting - I'll try to express it in someway. +1 – Ilan Jun 20 '15 at 9:10
  • Divided and agreed beforehand! If divided but not agreed, getting clear data about performance will be more difficult – Project Shepherding Jun 20 '15 at 10:21
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    Heh. That was my Mom's rule when my sister and I were growing up. If my sister and I had to split something, one of us was to divide it, and the other chose which half they wanted. Had never thought to apply that to work, but it makes sense :) +1 – LindaJeanne Jun 20 '15 at 11:08

Ideally in a pair or other group situation, you don't have to nitpick or keep score all the time. Hopefully, the work is close enough or if one person contributes to her team more, management recognizes that and can offer other forms of compensation or at least job security.

When you feel someone is trying to be "smooth" an not do her part, you must bring this up to this person. Inform them you are not going to keep doing more work. If the team suffers and management asks why, you have no choice but to put the blame on them. Some people will always try to take advantage of others unless someone offers enough negative consequences.

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