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How to Deal with Tattletales in the Workplace (Part II)

Tattletales can be disruptive, often wreaking havoc on employee morale and productivity. But, there are major differences between reporting an issue and tattling. Learn how to identify when it’s time to alert your manager and when it’s time to take a “cool-off” lap around the break room.

In part one of this series, we focused on how to deal with tattletales in the workplace, specifically how to handle a tattle tale coworker.

Today, we’re going to focus on how to effectively handle a situation without becoming a tattler yourself.

Think before you speak

Before you do anything about the situation, it is always best to sit back and consider how serious of an offense it might be. Sometimes our sense of judgment can get clouded from heavy workloads or stress, making us a little more irritable than usual.

For example, perhaps a coworker doesn’t follow the dress code as closely as she should, or maybe another colleague is always jumping into the middle of conversations in the break room. While these things might bother you, they aren’t really enough of a problem for you to bring to your boss.

In the long run, minor irritations don’t really have any effect on team productivity or the company’s well-being. In these instances, it’s better to stay away from trivial personality traits or minor issues that don’t necessarily affect the team’s work.

Consider going direct to your co-worker first

Although not applicable under every circumstance, sometimes an issue can be resolved by simply bringing it up to your colleague. If you notice that a co-worker isn’t doing something properly or hasn’t been getting things in on time, bring it up with them directly.

More often than not, your colleague will be glad you went to them rather than pulling the rug out from under them with a surprise scolding from the boss. But remember, it is always important to tread lightly when bringing up any kind of criticism. So, try your best to keep things as positive as possible.

When to alert your manager

Sometimes it may not be enough to bring up the issue to your colleague; if worst comes to worst, consider bringing the issue to your manager. As we mentioned earlier, telling your manager about issues of misconduct is important for mitigating risk and maintaining a safe work environment.

If you suspect a colleague of committing serious offenses against company policy, unethical behavior or doing something that causes danger to themselves or to someone else, such as bullying, sexual harassment or illegal practices, it is best to report these actions right away, rather than let it escalate.

By understanding the different ways of dealing with tattling, you can help keep morale high, employees happy and workplaces free from hazards. So, before you run to your boss, take a moment and ask yourself, “Is this a minor misunderstandings or personality conflict? Or is this an issue of misconduct?”