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I am frequently being criticised for the mistakes made by an underperforming colleague, which is slowly grinding me down and making me feel like I should look for a new job. My boss seems to be unaware of how negatively this management style is affecting me, despite me trying to communicate this already.
I am getting increasingly frustrated and I want to let my boss know that I'm not happy to continue with the status quo. I want to indicate that my job satisfaction is important to me without coming across as unreasonable. My question is, how do I constructively communicate job dissatisfaction to my boss?
I work in a small team of developers with a line manager who is our collective boss. My boss' approach to the team ethos is that I and my colleagues are operating on a peer-to-peer basis and none of us are 'senior' or 'above' one another (with the exception of himself as the line manager). This means that in practise we are encouraged to give each other feedback and to work collaboratively, but none of us have any authority to tell the others what to do or what not to do. In theory I would have no problems with this team dynamic, but over time I have found myself becoming increasingly disatisfied with how accountability is managed within the team by my boss.
I have one colleague in particular who underperforms - by this I mean, their work is often sloppy and full of mistakes. They do not have an eye for detail and demonstrate forgetfulness, so when I offer them friendly feedback or point out mistakes which need fixing, they take my feedback positively but often forget to implement any fixes. (I believe my colleague's working style has always been this way, but the full extent of it did not become apparent to me until another colleague had left the company. I believe the colleague who left had habitually cleaned up the other guy's work for him, but hadn't mentioned this to anyone.)
I have found over time that my boss prefers to deliver any negative feedback to the team collectively, so when he discovers shortcomings in our work, instead of speaking to the person who implemented it, he tells us as a group 'You guys need to perform better'. At first I was sympathetic to this approach because I understand that it can be demoralising to single out individuals for criticism. However, I am now finding that I am becoming increasingly stressed and demotivated by the near-constant reprimands and criticisms being aimed at the group. I am quite certain that the collective criticism is not aimed at me as an individual**, but am finding it increasingly difficult to be patient with my colleague. I have tried delivering peer-to-peer feedback, first in a friendly way and later in a more firm tone, communicating that he needs to improve and also offering advice on how to improve. I've even offered to take on extra work to help him manage his workload. I've found so far that he doesn't take my feedback seriously and often dismisses the criticisms from my boss as 'don't worry about it, he's just in a bad mood'. I've found that by overseeing and helping to manage my colleague's workload I have had some success in raising the quality of his output, but I feel like this is hugely inappropriate for a peer-to-peer relationship. I have spoken to my boss privately to express that I am having difficulty dealing with his expectations - it is very demotivating to be powerless to motivate my colleague while still coming in for criticism when his efforts are negatively impacting the group's output. My boss has privately expressed to me that he isn't sure how to approach the situation with my colleague and that he will need to 'think about it'. This has now been going on for several months, and I have spoken privately to my boss three times; in every case he said he still needed more time to 'think about it'.
** In one-to-one meetings with my boss, I have always consistently received positive feedback and my performance always either meets or exceeds expectations.