Yesterday I had a Review with my manager in which I brought up an issue I'd been having with a colleague. Previously I had tried to deal with these issues myself but my manager had encouraged me to discuss issues with him if I needed to.

I'm worried that my manager now thinks that my issues with my colleague are on a personal level rather than a professional level and that I was trying to report them rather than seek advice on how to handle the situation.

Is it appropriate to go back to my manager and explain that I'm seeking advice in a situation I'm not sure how to deal with, and to clarify that this is not a personal issue I have with my colleague?

  • What was the issue you were having with your colleague?
    – kirsty
    Jun 20, 2017 at 9:38
  • He is in my reporting but issue with him is that if given any suggestion about his tasks he gets egoistic(i used word sensitive with manager). He is resistant to changes, but when rest of the teams starts following new things he sometimes joins. Both of these issues are there because he does not look at the big picture even if you explain.
    – blackfyre
    Jun 20, 2017 at 9:43
  • Ps he is senior to me and used to lead that team untill he had to step down, which was all decided before i joined that team
    – blackfyre
    Jun 20, 2017 at 9:45

2 Answers 2



You should always seek to clarify where you have not felt that you were understood.

You should also do so in a way that doesn't suggest to the other party that the misunderstanding is their fault.

In this case, a simple email should suffice:

Hi Mr Boss,

I'm sorry if I gave the impression that I was trying to "report" colleague as I was hoping to resolve the situation without involving you directly. However, I would still like your advice on how I should attempt to this resolution.

I will attempt to be clearer in the future when discussing such things.


And, next time, I'd avoid naming the person your having a problem with and focus on the situation instead.


So thats why this time i did, i was being too concise so he said if im feeling personally offended then thats not legit reason for reporting someone and that i should be more precise. Well then i told him in precise manner too and he gave advice about that.

I think that your boss will feel that the situation is covered - going back to him on this single issue that you've already discussed may seem like you are struggling to control a situation when you are actually fine (I'm assuming?).

When reporting up there are always some things left unsaid because you can't run through your every thought or problem in the time available. What may be better if you note down some things that you'd like to discuss & then when you have the basis for another discussion & somewhere in that conversation you can slip in a more abstract question like:

'Have you ever managed someone who previously managed the team?'

'Have you got tips on managing someone who previously managed the team?'

'Have you ever managed someone after they were demoted from manager to team member & possible resented it?'

By making the question into a more theoretical one could allow your boss a little more room to give advice without referring to the actual person.

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