I've described this problem in the letter to my boss.

I have a problem with N. This is my 3rd job and I've never experienced this kind of communication problem before.

Our workflow assumes that I receive a large amount of data and instructions how to proceed from him. But instructions never come, he literally throws all the data in my face every time. If I want to clear something out I rarely get an answer because "it's all there". When something goes wrong later he blames me and wants it to be fixed immediately (even if I'm on a sick leave).

He doesn't admit that the problem exists and probably sees me as a servant, not as a colleague.

I love my job but this problem makes me extremely unhappy.

N is much more valuable person in the company and I've been working for the company only for 3 months. So it's barely possible that N will get moved from his position or change his attitude. I also have no place to move to avoid working with N.

Should I send this letter to my boss, meet him in person or meet him together with N? Should I try something else?

  • 1
    What have you talked to N about? Sounds like you and him need a conversation prior to you talking to your boss
    – enderland
    Jan 13, 2013 at 13:42
  • cc Manager if needed. Make sure all conversations are stored (eg. Email, IM). Jan 13, 2013 at 15:58
  • 1
    And you're positive his behaviour cannot be attributed to anything you've said or done to him in the time you've spent there? Can you say he's always been this way with you (and other colleagues) since go?
    – kolossus
    Jan 13, 2013 at 17:14
  • "N is much more valuable person" - what are his specific qualities which make him valueable to the management?
    – drabsv
    May 11, 2013 at 15:40
  • If you ask him questions to which he answers "it's all there", make sure you have a notebook and a pen, write down the answer "it's all there", then ask again to clarify, and write down his reply. Clearly visibly. (Nothing he could object to; I often go to colleagues with a notebook in my hand because my memory isn't good enough to remember all their valuable advice; unfortunate that you need it for evidence).
    – gnasher729
    Jul 29, 2014 at 22:51

2 Answers 2


First off I'd suggest you hold off on talking with the boss and begin to document the issue by only using email communications with this person.

Email can be a very valuable tool when it comes to managing expectations and behavior and it removes any question of 'he said/she said' from the equation. The bottom line is that most people behave quite differently to written requests and reminders as opposed to verbal requests.

You don't mention scheduling or how the data and instructions are handed off so I can only make some broad suggestions here. But do what you can to formalize a process that clearly shows what was handed off and when it was handed off to you. This can be something as simple as an email exchange or a shared folder on a network drive.

If you're on a set schedule (i.e. every Tuesday) or know ahead of time when you should be receiving the packet send a polite reminder via email a day or two ahead. This would be a good time to ask questions if you know ahead of time that there's something different or special about this particular task.

If you don't receive what you expect at the appropriate deadline then send another email. You may have to repeat this a few times and if you do, at some point it's appropriate to cc your manager so s/he is aware of the delay. Depending upon your work environment it may even be appropriate to cc N's manager on the escalation email, but generally speaking that should be up to your manager to do.

Any questions, errors or omissions in what you've been handed should be documented in email as well. You don't need to be adversarial but state your questions clearly and concisely.

The point here is not to blame but to show and document that you're taking every reasonable step to improve the flow and communications. The side effect, even if N doesn't realize it, is that you're documenting his behavior and failure to respond to queries.


Approaching your boss is a good step, however the manner which you approach your boss needs a rethink. I believe that the dialogue should start as verbal.

Once it is written down and communicated to your boss, it is official and needs to be follow through and investigated. Verbal dialogue means that the situation is given a chance to be resolved without resorting the official channels (HR, higher escalation etc) and that could get quite messy for everyone involve.

If you have a regular one-on-one with your boss, this would be a good time to bring this up.

  • 4
    Step 1 is talking to the person. Step 1 is not approaching your boss when you've not even tried to deal with the problem yourself.
    – enderland
    Jan 13, 2013 at 19:02
  • Totally agree with you @enderland, I have assumed that he has already done that as he is already considering approaching his boss. My bad.
    – tehnyit
    Jan 14, 2013 at 9:32

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