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I have a year working as hygienics and quality supervisor in an industrial kitchen, all this time I've worked along with the kitchen manager, she was part of my adjustement process and I developed a 'workplace friend' relationship with her. Problem is she has a lot of problems derived of her own rushed bad decisions, lack of management habilities, tendency to blame others, mistreatment to clients and workers, and bad temperament in general.

The key of my good relationship with her is that I understand she learned what she knows about managing an industrial kitchen from practice through 12 years of working in the industry, she never had an instructed education and does what she cans to do her job and deal with the lack of operational experience of our bosses. I've absorbed some of her responsabilities and I usually help her with stuff that requires more planning.

She has been working for our company for 4 years, and it has been 4 years of reports, now that we are trying to win again the bidding for this kitchen my bosses (three brothers) has been more sensitive over those reports.

Yesterday one of my bosses, the kitchen area supervisor, and me discovered that she had used an expensive meat for a service without asking permission, that meat was supposed to be used for an special service in another kitchen of the company and we were just keeping it frozen until the day of the service came. This made my boss really mad, thats when he told me that he wants me to report every mistake she makes because "we can't stand keeping her here", he told me I was not obligated to, but i should do it if I trust him...

I don't feel I can judge her actions, I know it's a difficult job and I've seen her struggle and fight for the sake of the kitchen, I wouldn't be able to do it "the right way" anyway.

What should I do?, would you report to your boss or not?

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In my opinion the boss's request indicates poor judgment. It also suggests that you can end up on either side of the equation: one time you are the one spying, then later you might find yourself being the one being spied on.

Since now you know you might at any time end up being spied and reported on by someone else, realizing this reduces trust between the employee and the manager, as well as among employees.

I recommend not taking sides and remaining neutral as much as possible. It is better to be very clear that you do not agree to play this game and distance yourself from the issue from the very start. You can say something generic such as "I generally try to stay away from disciplinary issues as I believe this is not within my responsibilities and is more of a supervisory issue, so unfortunately I am afraid I am not able to be of assistance in this particular situation." Good luck!

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