“What Can I Do About My Lazy Team Lead?”
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“What Can I Do About My Lazy Team Lead?”

Welcome to Ask a Girlboss! It's our weekly advice column where real experts answer your burning career questions. Have a dilemma that needs solving? DM us on Instagram and we'll get right on it.

"My team lead is lazy and dumps all her work on me. What do I do?"

The expert: Claire Schmidt, the founder and CEO of AllVoices, a platform that enables employees to provide anonymous feedback safely to their companies. Here's her advice.

This is a tough situation to be in, and I empathize with the way you're feeling. One thing I've learned from becoming a manager myself is that managing people is also a hard job! It can sometimes seem to others like you're not doing much, but as a boss, often you're juggling a bunch of different work responsibilities yourself, plus recruiting and hiring, helping your team improve their performance and achieve their career development goals, helping your own boss with their projects, navigating tricky political situations, picking up slack when someone on the team quits their job, administrative activities, budgeting… and much, much more. So, I just want to mention the possibility that they might not be "lazy" or "dumping all their work" on you, but rather, giving you work that is in your job description and doing a lot of other work that you might not be seeing.

In general, one thing that helps me is this trick? When I hear a complaint or have a complaint myself, I try to start out by thinking, is that actually, 100%, confirmed truth? Or is that just a thought, which could be true or not? If it's the latter, then it's worth at least being open to the possibility that there's more going on than meets the eye.

Now, if you see them in their office all day painting their toenails and talking on the phone with their friends, or they're constantly unreachable and on vacation, then there may be more truth to it. In that case, they aren't going to be effective within the organization long term. They won't be able to speak to the work that is happening within their team, have informed conversations with others within the organization, hire and recruit effectively. So likely, they won't be around for long.

My advice in the meantime would be to work hard, take time to get to know other people within the organization and talk to them about all the great work you're doing (without throwing your boss under the bus!), look for lateral moves you could make within the org, try to learn and grow from the responsibilities you are getting from your boss—and maybe someday you'll even be asked to take on your boss' role.

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