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  1. #1
    Join Date
    May 2010

    Default To confront or not to confront colleague

    Hi, just wondering if there's any HR experts here or hubbers with people management experience? I want to know how I should politely confront a colleague that I heard through another colleague that he/she has been talking/criticising behind my back? or is it better to bring this up to a manager?

    I have a colleague who has viewed my work activities behind my back as our team allows a shared email inbox amongst several people including myself. Due to the nature of my job, my work allows several people access to a shared inbox so there is no such thing as a 'privacy' especially when there's an email addressed to me.

    Today i received an email from my manager to that shared inbox with instructions and feedback about my recent project which needed some improvements, etc (very factual, logical feedback and i accepted it - nothing wrong with it actually). However one colleague unfortunately had a chance to take a look that email and took this opportunity to criticise about my work which he spoke to another colleague about. Those criticisms weren't even the true series of events, and there were false conclusions (lots of assumptions)

    Upon hearing that, i really wanted to respond to him, to give a new perspective. I spoke my other colleague whom I heard about this incident from and she didn't mind me going up to him and tell him that I've heard from her. I am confident my female colleague wasn't lying and this male colleague's criticism was derived from this feedback email and it wasn't a made up criticism, but i disliked his criticism and false conclusions which it felt like it had damaged my reputation.

    What is the acceptable way of 'confronting' him? I will lose nothing, but not sure if i'll gain anything. Because if you confront someone they'll normally deny anyway?
    Last edited by bunnymum; 27-01-2021 at 21:37.

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Jan 2012
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    Default To confront or not to confront colleague

    I would suggest reframing your thoughts so it isn’t a confrontation. Think of it as a constructive discussion, setting boundaries. It’s less likely to head south if your intended outcome is to prevent future issues occurring.

    Ask to speak to him in private. Let him know that you heard that X had been said to Y about you, and that you didn’t appreciate your reputation being tarnished in that way. Let him know that it is inappropriate to access your emails that aren’t directly related to work tasks. Ask him to come to you directly if he has any questions about your work in future.

    This way he knows that you know and whilst he might snoop again, he’s not going to talk about it. If he does, you have grounds to escalate it further.

    Keep notes of the discussion, date, time, his response, etc. in case you do need to take it further.


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