“A couple of months ago, I would have used the first approach on my slacking team member. However, I quickly found that getting angry—although satisfying—didn’t motivate my staff. Instead, they would get defensive and resentful.

I had to change my tactics. That’s when I discovered the magical question: What ideas do you have for… (finishing this on time, placating the customer, responding to the client, doing things better in the future, whatever else you think is required to fix the thing you messed up)?”

Co-Worker Slacking Off? Don’t Get Mad—Ask This Question.