With one exception, everything about my job is terrific. I work for an upscale hotel which is preparing me for a career in hospitality management. My boss is a great mentor, and most of my colleagues are upbeat and enthusiastic. However, one of them is a real mood-killer. Brittany starts complaining as soon as she walks through the door. Our manager is her primary target, but she makes disparaging comments about everyone, including coworkers and customers. She also loves to gossip and enjoys telling malicious stories about certain staff members. Brittany doesn’t seem to care that hotel guests can often hear her negative remarks. Although I
would like to correct this unprofessional behavior, that might put me on her “enemies list”. If I mention this to my boss, I’m afraid I’ll sound like a tattletale. My co-worker is a real downer. With all this constant complaining and speaking ill of other employees and I am not sure how to handle this individual in the best most professional and appropriate way. What should I do?
Since Brittany’s compulsive griping is affecting both employees and guests, someone certainly needs to address it. It is always a good idea to try and work with the fellow employee to resolve the concern first before involving a supervisor. To keep this on a peer level, team up with some other colleagues and arrange to have a private conversation with Brittany (caution that it does not present as being ganged up on). A group discussion will have greater impact and
minimize the possibility of retribution. For example: “Brittany, we wanted to talk with you because it appears you are not happy working here. We are sorry about that and would encourage you to talk with the supervisor. Listening to you complain has become rather uncomfortable for us. We’re also concerned that customers
who overhear your comments are getting a bad impression of the hotel. So, from now on, we wanted you to know we are not going to participate in any more gripe sessions.” If that approach doesn’t seem feasible, the business implications provide a perfectly valid reason for involving your boss in this concern. Be sure to focus on the work issues and impact on morale, not Brittany’s disagreeable behavior. Explain that her public complaints may be giving guests the wrong impression, so you thought your manager should become aware of the situation. To stay off the enemy list, request that your comments be kept confidential please.