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No one likes having a difficult conversation with a boss -- especially when it involves another co-worker. Office politics can run deep, and when you think your boss is the cause of another employee's negative behavior, you'll need a plan to address the issue. If you sit by and let a nonconfrontational boss get walked all over by a fellow employee, it can lead to the demise of your department. Try not to have a knee-jerk response to any work situation though. Instead, think through what you want to say and approach your boss in a calm manner for the best result.
Gather Your Information
Before you meet with your boss, collect evidence of why you believe he is the culprit of an employee's behavior. When you approach your boss, make sure you have concrete examples of how he contributes to this problem. If you think your supervisor listens to his headphones too much at work and doesn't notice that another co-worker likes to order the rest of you around, that can go on your list. The inventory you document is just for you, so list everything that comes to mind. After you make a list, narrow it down to a few specific examples that are not petty or easy to dispute.
Ask For Private Time
Ask to meet with your supervisor alone when you want to address an issue about his actions in the office. Many bosses are busy so they may suggest you meet in your cubicle or attempt to talk to you in the hallway. Try to not to bring up in front of others that his distracted behavior causes a co-worker to be unfocused. Explain that you would like to talk about something that has been on your mind and ask if he has a few minutes to meet privately in his office or conference room.
When approaching your boss about the problem, don't make assumptions. Although you have observed troubling issues in the office, it is impossible for you to know all the nuances of the situation. If you notice that your boss is behaving in a way that causes negative behavior in an employee, stick to the facts. For example, if a co-worker is chatty and gets distracted easily, point out to your boss that when people start talking to this employee about his favorite sports team, he can't seem to get back on task for a period of time. Allow your boss to recognize that he may be contributing to the undesirable behavior.
Present a Solution
When you tell your boss that you think he may be the culprit of an employee's behavior, present a solution to the problem. You might find that a co-worker is constantly intimidated by your outspoken boss. Without acknowledging the co-worker specifically, mention to your boss that you've noticed tension in the office and you think some team-building exercises would help people bond. Research related team-building exercises and then suggest that your boss join in. Building rapport among your co-workers and management staff is one way to present a solution to such a problem.
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Based in the Midwest, Gina Scott has been writing professionally since 2008. She has worked in real estate since 2004 and has expertise in pop culture and health-related topics. She has also self-published a book on how to overcome chronic health conditions. Scott holds a Master of Arts in higher-education administration from Ball State University.