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How to Encourage a Co-Worker to Deliver

Photography of a happy young man smiling with a document on his hand.

There is a deadline at work and it’s in three days. There is also a problem. Your team is depending on one person to get some documents submitted in order to proceed to the next steps. However, this person has been known to be very unreliable. The company will not let go of this person, and you are stuck. How do you encourage your co-worker to contribute his part so everyone else can do theirs?

STEP ONE: Help the co-worker understand the big picture. Creating a macro-view or flow chart of the project will help the co-worker understand the nature of the business. Insert or highlight where the person’s role is on this map or flow chart. This will help create a framework that shows how valuable his or her role is in the process and how other people are depending on them.

STEP TWO: Ask the person what is the best way to communicate and help keep them accountable with tasks. Some people are visual and need aides. Suggest that they keep colored post-its or keep the map as a reminder. Others are good with structure. Try investing into a project management tool (i.e. Asana is a great one), or use digital calendar functions on Google Calendar. If the project is due in three days, these tools may not be the best immediate solution but they may help contribute to a smoother process for the next deadline.

STEP THREE: Remind them that you will need your co-worker’s help in executing this deadline. Let the co-worker know that you will not be able to proceed until the documents are delivered. Scheduled another time to talk and make sure that talk happens!

Showing a macro, big picture view of the needs of the company, helping the co-worker access various project management tools, as well as scheduling follow up accountability meetings will prove to be useful. While it’s never easy talking to a co-worker about deadlines, it is crucial for the company that this person delivers. And on time!


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