Subscribe in a reader

Are you a web programmer familiar with LAMP stack and want to work from home? Please fill out an application here! Full time job, salaries range from around $1,000-$6,000/month.

A lot of times, you find that you are starting a project, or working on a business, and start to think, “Hmmm, my partner’s not doing as much work as I am”. That is one of the most destructive thoughts you can have in any kind of group or business relationship. However, you don’t have to let this thought destroy your relationship or the product!

First, let’s see what happens when you react negatively to this thought. Maybe you first start by speaking to your partner about it. You can say it directly (and non-tactfully), such as “Jim, I feel like I’m doing more work than you are. Can you please pick up the slack?” Or a little more tactful and more indirectly, “Hey Jim, I’m a little swamped right now, do you think you can take care of xyz?”

This is inevitably the start of the downfall of your business. The indirect “push” might work well for a while, but it will eventually turn into a direct confrontation, because the underlying problem isn’t solved. When you make these statements, your partner either feels like he’s already doing the best he can, or he doesn’t. If he does, he’d be somewhat annoyed, as he would feel like you’re making him do extra work, and would start feeling EXACTLY the same way that you’ve been feeling. He’d probably react to you the same way you reacted to him, so work just gets shoved around, undone. If he doesn’t, then there must’ve been a reason he wasn’t working hard to begin with. Maybe he feels unmotivated, or doesn’t like you. What happens when you tell him to do more work? He might do it, but now feels kind of pressured. Instead of being your partner, he’ll start feeling like he’s your employee. He’ll also be scared. Afraid to take his time doing stuff because he needs to get stuff done faster. Afraid to make mistakes because you’ll be down his throat yelling at him. Afraid of asking questions because he doesn’t want to come off as stupid and incompetent. That adds up to a lot of bad work being done by your partner, which might need to be redone, and cause you a loss of money. That makes the situation worse, and the cycle starts over. In both of these situations, you end up with no partner and a mediocre product that you had to produce all by yourself (unless you did a ton of extra work) or maybe even no working product at all.

Aside from the crappy product, there’s no way you’ll ever be able to scale your activities. If you want to accomplish something, you’ll need people to help you. Where there’s people, there will be people who are worse than you, especially if you’re very competent. You’ll need their help. There’s only so much you can accomplish on your own.

So how should you react? Well, here’s a couple of things to keep in mind:

You need your partner – First, realize that the two of you can accomplish more together than you can alone. Sure your partner may not be able to contribute as much as you, but he can contribute something right? All you need to do is figure out how to best utilize the work your partner is putting in. That way, even though he’s doing less than you, at least you don’t have to do 100% of the work. Better to only have to do 80% of the work than 100-110% (in case you scrap your partner’s work and start over or something) :-)

Your partner is probably doing more than you think – Your partner probably doesn’t tell you every little thing that he does. Maybe he fixed a bunch of stuff and didn’t tell you because he didn’t want to bother you. Maybe he’s been thinking about the problem all day even though he hasn’t done any actual work. Just assume he’s contributing to the best of his ability (afterall, why wouldn’t he?) and keep thinking about how you can improve the product. Afterall, what does it gain you to figure out that he isn’t doing as much as you? You waste time, you get pissed off, and you don’t get anything accomplished.

When 33%+67% = 300% – The most important thing is that the two of you probably have complementing skillsets that creates more value than just the sum of your individual skillsets. For example, let’s say you would earn $100 working on a project alone. Suddenly, you think of a way to double your revenues. Now you’re making $200, $100 extra. On your partner’s side, he’s also thinking up ideas, but he’s not as smart as you. He only thinks of a way to increase profits by 1.5 times; Except … it’s a different idea. Alone, he would be making $150, $50 extra. Together, the two of you would be making $300, $200 extra. Just by working together, you’ve created an extra $50 of gains that wouldn’t have been available to either of you alone.

This is the main value of working in a group. People have different skillsets, and together, they compound. 50% improvements from 10 different people in separate areas result in a 5667% increase in productivity! The value of getting that one extra new idea is so high.

Just forget about who’s doing more work. Who’s to say your 100% improvement is better than his 50% improvement? Together, you gain that extra $50. Apart, you don’t. You need both people equally in order to make the relationship work, and as such, you are both equally important. It’s a strange concept that you can put in twice the effort as your partner and still be equally important as your partner, but it’s clearly true here. You need him/her as much as he/she needs you.

The value of your partner’s contributions is not always clear – Maybe you spent all day doing an assignment, and he/she spent all day walking around occasionally thinking about it. Sure seems like you did more work. Then again, what if he/she came up with an idea during that time and improved your project by 1000%? Or maybe he/she talking to your client nicely got you the deal. Yeah, that 2 seconds would’ve been just as important as the 50 hours of hard work you put in. It’s not always clear just how much of each person’s contributions actually affected the final result. Who knows, he/she might be doing more “work” than you are even though you’re working harder and longer.

So taking all of these into account, it’s much harder to get mad at your partner. You don’t even know if they’re contributing less than you, and if they are, you know that you’re still probably better off with them helping. Besides, they probably work differently than you, so why not just let them work their way? Afterall, you probably respected something in that person to have picked them as your associate/partner. You may not understand how they work or why they do what they do, but you’ve seen their results. They’re capable people, so they’ve obviously gotten it done somehow in the past. Just leave them alone and be there to help them if they need it.

Worst comes to worst, you do the whole thing, and they watch you and do nothing. How is that any worse than you having to do it all alone? Besides, if they see that you’re having fun doing the work, even if they originally had no intention of helping, maybe they’ll start thinking “Hmm, I kindda want to join in”, or “I feel bad that my partner’s doing all the work.”

Work hard, have fun, and people will want to join you! Just do the best you can, and let them contribute the best they can.

If you feel that this post has been of value to you, please leave a donation to show your appreciation and allow me to bring this value to other people as well!

Ask a question or discuss this post in the personal development forum.

Email This Post Email This Post

Related Posts

Site Pages Reindexed
Overcome Procrastination By Consulting Your Feelings
A Donation Brings A Lot Of Motivation
Why Being Generous Makes You Wealthy
The End Of Relationships
Be A Good Manager By Letting People Learn And Grow
How To Find A Wife / Husband
I Have To Not Get Fired!
Why Generosity Creates Wealth Day 3: Generosity At Work
Give Me a Little More Time!

Free Personal Development Email Updates

Not sure when the next article will appear?
Why not subscribe to email updates and get articles delivered to you instead?

Enter your email address:


18 Responses to “My Partner’s Not Doing Enough Work!”

  1. Be A Good Manager By Letting People Learn And Grow on October 12th, 2007 9:50 pm

    [...] Articles Do You Get Money? (Series) My Partner’s Not Doing Enough Work! The Key To A Healthy Relationship(Series) How To Find Out What You Really Want How To Come Up With [...]

  2. Why Being Generous Makes You Wealthy on April 6th, 2008 2:22 am

    [...] Career Articles Be A Good Manager By Letting People Learn And Grow 8 Starting A New Job Tips How To Interview For A Job How To Ask For A Raise How To Get Your Partner To Do More Work [...]

  3. Hot Link » Blog Archive » 12th Edition of Carnival of Leadership Growth on September 22nd, 2008 7:03 pm

    [...] Wong presents My Partner?s Not Doing Enough Work! posted at Personal Development for INTJs, saying, “Do you find that your partner’s not [...]

  4. Elizabeth on January 28th, 2009 11:05 am

    I just wanted to leave a sincere compliment about your articles. Awesome….Thank You

  5. John on March 3rd, 2009 2:17 pm

    This example is great in a two person environment. and I agree with this article to a point. However, if your partner’s sporadic absence or lack of productivity is disruptive to other contributors to the point where they no longer contribute or they leave due to this then something has do be changed. As things grow your partner not contributing leads to discontent and discouragement among your employees.

  6. Bruce Balsley on January 1st, 2010 11:52 am

    This is great, But what if my partners are not doing there job. What if your company is doing 8,000,000 a year in revenues. And one and only one partner is doing 6,000,000 ayear of theses revenues. And the one and only one partner is taking all the responbilites of the company, growing the company and making sure ther pay checks are paid insurance is paid , phone bills are paid. And the one and only partner owns 35% of company and has no control even if he is the one that started the company.

  7. Naveen Kulkarni on August 27th, 2010 6:48 pm

    I think point saying “your partner is doing more than you think ” is great.
    Everyone has their own strengths and specialties. Some people spot problems at very early stages and fix them immediately whereas some wait till disaster happens.

    Nice article though.

  8. Jane on February 5th, 2011 2:52 pm

    So you don’t actually get them to do more work. You just accept that their level of work is the best they can do.
    I have to argue with your statement near the end – that they sit and watch and do nothing whilst you do it all is equal to them not being there.
    If they are motivating you and getting you cups of tea that’s great. But maybe they’re sat there saying ‘that’s not possible’ and actually they’re negatively de-motivating you. Their eyes on your back are actually making you work slower and decrease your output, whereas if they weren’t there, then you’d be able to get on with things without even thinking about how they could be helping you.

  9. Carnival of Sales & Management Success – August 1, 2007 | Sales Management 2.0 on July 24th, 2011 10:40 am

    [...] Wong presents My Partner?s Not Doing Enough Work! posted at Personal Development for INTJs, saying, “Do you find that your partner’s not [...]

  10. My Partner’s Not Doing Enough Work! | Ask The Business Lawyer - Business Lawyer for Entrepreneurs and Small Businesses in NYC on September 2nd, 2011 2:57 am

    [...] Building and Maintaining Effective Business Partnerships” . . . and came across “My Partner’s Not Doing Enough Work!” — which is certainly a factor that could drive you [...]

  11. Bellamy Jones on September 12th, 2011 5:31 am

    We offer loans at low interest rate of 3% per year, we offer Personal loans,
    Debt Consolidation Loan, Venture Capital, Business Loan, Education Loan,
    Home Loan or “Loan for any reason!”. Do you have unpaid bills? Are you in
    debt? Do you need to set up a business? Worry no more as we are here to
    offer you a low interest loan. Our loan ranges from $5,000.00 USD to
    $5,000,000.00 USD. If you are interested, contact us via Thanks.Bellamy Jones

  12. Clifford Kampton on September 12th, 2011 5:31 am

    hello,My name is Cliff, and i just came across your profile today so i decided to express my feelings that you might be of good person to me,and i am so sure and believe that in todays world age or distance is never a problem in love, so please you can reply to me so that we can get to know each other better and tell you some other things you need to know aboutme.( Clifford Kampton

  13. yetunde adebayo on March 29th, 2012 12:18 pm


  14. Mike on June 1st, 2012 8:23 am

    I have been a victim of fake spell caster for over years and i almost gave up when i met a man(spell caster) who helped me get my lover back and also made a good luck spell for me which as helped me to be successful in so many ways… i feel so happy now and cant stop thanking him. if you are interested in meeting him, here is his contact

  15. business attorney Costa Mesa on July 13th, 2012 11:07 pm

    Thank you for this extremely brilliant blog. You provide the lot of useful and interesting information in this blog like Your partner is probably doing more than you think,The value of your partner’s contributions is not always clear. This is the right place where there is something for everyone! I was looking for this kind of information for such a long time and I am more than happy to see such a great blog with plenty of useful information. Thanks again for sharing.

  16. Carnival of Sales & Management Success – August 1, 2007 - The Uber Geek! on August 3rd, 2012 10:22 pm

    [...] Wong presents My Partner?s Not Doing Enough Work! posted at Personal Development for INTJs, saying, “Do you find that your partner’s not doing enough [...]

  17. Lottery Experiment on November 12th, 2012 6:30 am

    My partner seems to do the majority of the work, as it should be ;)

  18. Shawn on February 15th, 2013 6:23 am

    Or your partner is a bum and a leech and you need to drop him.

    Use time tracking software so you can keep each other accountable. Warning sign number one, they don’t want to use the software.