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Communication Feedback Incompetence Tattling

My manager called and asked my opinion about a co-worker, and I spoke candidly about this person. I knew my manager had me on her speakerphone, but I did not realize this employee was there. My co-worker heard what I said and instantly

became defensive. Now what should I do?

This speakerphone incident speaks volumes about your managerís skills. The first thing you should do is learn from this situation.

The first lesson deals with your manager. Under many circumstances, asking employees for their opinion of co-workers can be questionable, since it puts employees in an awkward position and sets the stage for conflict and stress. Your manager compounded this misstep by asking for this feedback on a speakerphone, and even worse, doing so in front of the employee in question while failing to advise you that she was in the room. This raises real questions about your managerís competence.

A second lesson is to be careful about what you say about other people, whether you are on a speakerphone or not, and regardless of whoever may be making the inquiry. If you must provide this type of information, it is best to focus on a personís actual behavior as opposed to his or her personality.

At this point, your relationship with your co-worker has been damaged, and only time will tell the extent. In the meantime, maybe you can help your co-worker improve her performance, while hoping that someone does the same for your manager.

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