Yesterday I stumbled across a live IM thread where a current and former direct were trashing me. Part work- related ( they were upset about their perf review rating), part personal (disparaging remarks about my sexuality). I documented, discussed w my mgr, escalated to HR, confronted my direct ( very wel i might  add using coaching for mgr and hr--- I HATE confrontation) about inappropriate use of business resources, documented again. 

Now, my q is how to respond if he brings it up again (in an apology, defensively, etc.). I am thinking feedback on professalism. I don't want to stonewall if he brings it up or do what women often do, "no problem, let's start fresh, it's ok" bc it is not ok. 

Help me be professional and effective, please


sros's picture



Assuming you're able to overcome this personally, I believe these situations can benefit us managers (if they're few and far-between).  It sometimes allows us to reset our authority, thus promoting focus on the work that needs to be accomplished.   If you're anything like me, I tend to be too friendly with reports at times, which can hurt productivity.

In this case, my approach would be to let them know that I know (which you have already done), and then say very little about the incident. If confronted, you may say something like, "I expect the team to act professional, and would recommend that you discuss future issues with me directly.”

Although waiting to be confronted may not be your best move.  I might take control of this interaction myself and have quick 1 on 1 with the report.  In this case, I would save the incident discussion as the final topic, while mixing-in some work content.

I think it's effective to talk to him about the incident as if it did not involve you, and reiterate that the team's focus at work should be about work.  Be clear that discussions, such as his, have a way of destroying productivity.  And that your responsibility is to ensure that the team remains productive.  (This is a subtle hint that you won't tolerate this again).

Finally, I would recommend distancing yourself personally from your report, keeping any personal conversations to a minimum (remaining pleasant of course). 

That's my take on the situation anyway.  Hope it helps!


sanders1745's picture

Thanks, Dan. When I addressed it w the direct I said I didn't know who or what the thread was about, but it was not work related and therefore inappropriate use of business resources and unprofesional. 

I don't feel like I have been too friendly--I have made THAT mistake in previous roles. I found the disgruntled non-promoted cast yesterday and listened to it. Although the situation is a little different, the gist is the same.

He called out yesterday and today for family stuff so we will see what our O3 brings next week.


naraa's picture
Training Badge

 I agree with dan's answer.  You have already given the feedback and taken the necesary steps.  Is he comes in apologysing accept the appology and something general, distance from the actual event, focusing on the future and on productivety as the sentence dan suggestion is a good one.  

The best way for you to act professionally and effectively is to really make an effort to rise above it and really leave it in the past.  What your direct has done is completely wrong, but this is one good situation to send to messages (by the way you act):

1- nothing they do or say can affect you or diminish your confidence on yourself;

2-people are allowed to make mistakes and change based on their own learning from the mistares they make. 

The problem with the answer: "it's ok.". Is not the answer itself, it is That most people (me included) tend to hold past issues against people even when the issue is already resolved because we take it emotionally.  Accept, recognise the emotional response and feeling you have with respect to the event, That is how you can leave the event in the past and rise above it and you Will just be professional and effective about it with out having to think or worry so much.

At least That is how i do it.  I hope it helps you too.

thebeezer's picture
Licensee Badge

I'd advise tailoring your response to the circumstance.

If he apologizes, I recommend using the advice in the cast on accepting an apology.

If he gets defensive, it would be best to give him feedback about being defensive. "Hey, can I give you some feedback? When you state a reason for disparaging a co-worker on company resources, it makes me concerned that you are unable to learn from your mistakes and do better in the future. What can you do differently?" If he gets fixated on the why, leverage the advice in the cast "There is no WHY in feedback".

Hope this helps - good luck dealing with this situation as it sounds very difficult.


sanders1745's picture

Super suggestions, gang. I am half way through "There is no why in feedback" and will put "Accepting an apology" on for tomorrow's workout!