Consult Carson 8/20: “My team isn’t carrying their weight. How do I respond?”

From today’s mailbag: “I’m part of a team where I rely on others for support and results from my peers, but most of them are not carrying their weight. How should I respond to this?”

Carson: This is similar to being assigned a school project where your group is graded based on the sum of the parts.  Whether you do the entire project yourself to ensure it’s done right or you get contribution from others, the results of the team are your results – fair or not.  It is often that these scenarios do not feature a perfect balance.  Hopefully, you and your peers have both the skill and will to accomplish the common task.  When you do not, that is when potential conflict can arise.

Each of you has an assigned task: you may have similarities in your roles and each of you may have components unique to your job.  Ideally, everyone will work together, fulfilling the fleshed out parts of their jobs and you will be a cohesive partnership when it comes to items you co-manage.

However, the reality is you can typically only control your own output.  Everyone has their own motivations and work ethic and priorities and sometimes they may not all align.  Furthermore, it is also quite possible your peer is just not up to snuff when it comes to managing their tasks.

1. SWOT analyze the team.  Even if you are not the leader of the team, it is quite likely (and hopeful) that you have some input on how responsibilities are designated.  If it is clear that someone weak on a certain component of your team output is managing that output but someone else is strong in it, either ensure that there is collaboration, training or a shift in roles.  Frankly, it’s great when people are challenged to develop their aptitudes in areas where they are not as strong; however, sometimes they are not up to that challenge and their mishandling of that item is of extreme detriment to the team initiative.  It’s important that each member of the team is accountable and aware; people should be honest with themselves and teammates about what they are comfortable with and what they could use a helping hand on.  Only with this mutual respect and teamwork will the team thrive.

2. Ensure accountability.  Again, you may not be the point person of this team, but each member must hold each other accountable to the tasks allotted when everyone’s reputation is on the line.  It’s one for all and all for one, like the Musketeers (or the needs of the many outweigh the needs of the few for those Star Trek buffs) but whatever philosophy you’re subscribing to it is imperative everyone is honest about the wins and losses of the team.  If someone is not carrying their weight, they need to know about it.  If they can right the ship – great!  If they continue to be the cause of your ship sputtering out of control, it must be addressed.

3. Be flexible.  We all want to believe that all members of the team want to pitch in and do their part – it’s the human nature and belief in people that exists in each of us.  However, it is quite common for a team to set out on a mission under certain circumstances and parameters and processes only to see changes occur in the landscape; priorities change, goals change and the mission changes.  When this happens, the adaptability of the team is paramount.  This is why the relationship of the team – the mutual respect, the selflessness and the willing to help one another – will determine the success.  This is why adaptability and potentially shifting roles or readjusting the game plan based on how the game is being played can have a huge impact both on the results and the relationships.

4. Communicate with the appropriate parties.  If it’s a skill issue, there is a lot to be gained by reaching across the aisle to help the team member who is falling behind.  There may come a time when a project calls upon skills that you lack and you need someone to return the favor and reciprocate that help.  The team is as strong as its weakest link, so whomever that weak link in the chain is – swarm to help them and plug gaps in process until the machine is fine tuned.  If it is a will issue, that often cannot be fixed; you cannot control the determination, motivation and effort of others.  You can offer incentives, you can sell them on why they should operate at peak efficiency, but you cannot control their consistency or lack thereof.  It’s likely you are not the only team member who sees it, and it’s also likely that you and your fellow suffering team members have a team lead or manager you can communicate with.  It’s not even necessary in many instances for you to point fingers or place blame – the issues will be glaring.  It is, however, vital that you communicate your perspective – that you are contributing, that you are willing to contribute in additional ways to ensure team success and focus and that you and your team are concerned about the lack of forward motion in the affected areas.  Once you have done this, and followed up with further progress reports as necessary, you have done much of what you can.

Believe that your team members do want to be part of a successful team where they are carrying their weight, first and foremost.  Give the benefit of the doubt, offer to help, offer to get involved in additional ways that will help the team, develop your personal aptitudes so you are even more valuable to the team and be sure to communicate successfully with everyone with a vested interest in the project.  Someone may need to be replaced on the project down the road, but always operate in the best interests of the team and the goal – even if and when that means deviating and adapting your process along the way.


Carson V. Heady posts for “Consult Carson” serving as the “Dear Abby” of sales and sales leadership.  You may post any question that puzzles you regarding sales and sales leadership careers: interviewing, the sales process, advancing and achieving.  You will also be directly contributing to his third book, “A Salesman Forever.”

Question submissions can be made via LinkedIn to Carson V. Heady, this Facebook page: , Twitter via @cvheady007 or e-mail or you may post an anonymous comment as a reply to my WordPress blog at the bottom of this page:

Carson V. Heady has written a book entitled “Birth of a Salesman” that has a unique spin that shows you proven sales principles designed to birth in you the top producer you were born to be.

If you would like to strengthen your sales skills, go to

About cvheady007

I am a Christian, Husband, Dad, workaholic and author. Biography Carson Vincent Heady was born in Cape Girardeau, MO, graduated from Southeast Missouri State University and moved to St. Louis in 2001. He has served in sales and leadership across Microsoft, AT&T, Verizon and T-Mobile. Carson is best-selling author of the Birth of a Salesman series, the first book of which was published by World Audience Inc. in 2010. He released The Salesman Against the World in 2014, A Salesman Forever in 2016 and Salesman on Fire in 2020. He is also featured in Scott Ingram’s B2B Sales Mentors: 20 Stories from 20 Top 1% Sales Professionals. Carson is a 7-time CEO/President’s Club winner across 5 roles at AT&T and Microsoft and National Verizon Rockstar winner. He has been recognized as a top social seller at Microsoft and is consistently ranked in the top 25 sales gurus in the world on Rise Global. He is included among the Top 50 sales authors on LinkedIn. With over 330K social followers, Carson has also been interviewed on over 30 sales and leadership podcasts, by such luminaries as Jeffrey & Jennifer Gitomer, Jeb Blount, Brandon Bornancin, Sam Dunning, Larry Levine, Darrell Amy, Scott Ingram, Thierry van Herwijnen, Jim Brown, Sam Jacobs, Luigi Prestinenzi, Donald Kelly, Marylou Tyler, George Leith, Pat Helmer, Eric Nelson, Ron Tunick, Jeff Arthur, Mary Ann Samedi, Jean Oursler, Andre Harrell, Marlene Chism, Bill Crespo, Matt Tanguay, Josh Wheeler and Chad Bostick. He has also co-hosted the Smart Biz Show on EG Marketing Radio. His articles have appeared in several noteworthy publications such as SalesGravy, Smash! Sales, Salesopedia and the Baylor Sports Department S3 Report. Carson lives in St. Louis, MO, with his wife Amy and daughters Madison, Sidonia and Charlotte.
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