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Why Do Some Coworkers Have Slopey Shoulders And Brush You Off When You Need Their Help?

Why Do Some Coworkers Have Slopey Shoulders And Brush You Off When You Need Their Help?

Some coworkers don't want to take responsibility. They want to watch the world burn.

The Office Bantomime Team profile image
by The Office Bantomime Team

Imagine you're in dire need of a helping hand from a colleague, but instead of a supportive response, you encounter the all-too-familiar sight of slopey shoulders. Yes, you read that right – slopey shoulders. But what exactly does this term mean, and why do some co-workers seem to have mastered the art of brushing off responsibilities?

Understanding "Slopey Shoulders"

We must first comprehend what is meant by "Slopey shouldered." The Urban Dictionary defines it as the antithesis of "broad-shouldered". Someone who will display a strong, assured demeanour and be prepared to accept responsibility and accept accountability for their choices and actions.

The Art of Avoiding Accountability

To truly grasp the concept of "slopey shoulders," we turn to the Urban Dictionary, which defines it as the polar opposite of "broad-shouldered." It embodies an individual who exudes strength, confidence, and a readiness to shoulder responsibility and be answerable for their decisions and actions. In stark contrast, those with slopey shoulders are often individuals in positions of authority who skillfully evade tasks and pass the buck to subordinates, all in an effort to avoid being held accountable.

A Widespread Phenomenon

But here's the kicker – slopey shoulders are not confined to a specific profession or industry. They infiltrate offices worldwide, infiltrating the ranks of managers, directors, CEOs, lawmakers, plumbers, educators, pilots, astronauts, and even those entrusted with preparing school lunches for our kids.

So, why would a pilot entrust the autopilot with their duties, or a gangster hire someone to deal with a sensitive situation? And why should you be left to clean up the mess at a fast-food joint after enjoying your meal?

For these individuals, their sole concern revolves around coasting through the day without lifting a finger, evading any semblance of responsibility or accountability. Remarkably, when circumstances force them to pass their tasks onto others, they somehow manage to project an air of competence and bask in the praise showered upon the outcomes.

The Delegation Dilemma: Misuse of a Crucial Skill

Let's get one thing straight: delegation is a crucial skill that everyone should master, as no one can do everything alone. However, the problem lies in how some individuals, those with slopey shoulders, misuse this essential skill. They do so by heaping an overwhelming workload upon their colleagues, leading to mounting stress and deteriorating performance over time.

Spotting the Slopey-Shouldered: Identifying the Culprits

Now, the question is, how do you identify a slopey-shouldered person? These individuals have honed specific words and mannerisms over the years to artfully dodge their fair share of work. They likely observed these tactics in action while growing up, possibly inheriting the slopey-shouldered trait from previous generations. But is it a genetic condition? While more research is needed and no conclusive evidence exists, it's more likely a learned behaviour than a hereditary ailment or innate talent.

If you're good at avoiding responsibility without being exploited then that's a talent in itself.

Excuses Often Used by Slopey-Shouldered Individuals

  1. "I don't know how to tackle this because no one has ever provided clear instructions."
  2. "It's not within my job description," is their go-to response.
  3. "This request falls outside my pay grade."
  4. "I was aware of the issue, but it's not my responsibility to inform others about it."
  5. "This falls outside the scope of my job description."
  6. "If I start this task, I'll be stuck with it indefinitely."
  7. "Teaching someone else how to do it won't benefit me."
  8. "If I automate this process, will I become obsolete?"

In conclusion, the question that remains is, how do we put an end to the reign of slopey-shouldered individuals in our workplaces? The answer lies in fostering a culture of accountability, communication, and empowerment.

  1. Promote Accountability: Encourage a work environment where accountability is paramount. Make it clear that everyone, regardless of their position, is responsible for their tasks and actions. When individuals know they will be held accountable, they are less likely to shirk their responsibilities.
  2. Open Channels of Communication: Establish open and honest communication channels. Encourage team members to voice their concerns, ask questions, and seek help when needed. When employees feel comfortable discussing issues, it becomes harder for slopey-shouldered behaviour to persist unnoticed.
  3. Training and Development: Invest in training and development programs that equip employees with the skills and knowledge they need to excel in their roles. When individuals feel competent and confident in their abilities, they are less likely to pass the buck.
  4. Lead by Example: Leadership sets the tone for an organization. Leaders should exemplify a strong work ethic and a willingness to take on responsibilities. When employees see their superiors leading by example, they are more likely to follow suit.
  5. Recognition and Rewards: Recognize and reward employees who consistently demonstrate accountability and a strong work ethic. Positive reinforcement can encourage others to do the same.

By implementing these strategies and collectively taking a stand against slopey-shouldered behaviour, we can create a workplace culture where responsibility is embraced, tasks are tackled head-on, and excuses are replaced with action. Ultimately, this shift will not only benefit individuals but also contribute to the overall success and productivity of the organisation.

The Office Bantomime Team profile image
by The Office Bantomime Team

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