• Boss 50s (in job ~1 year) female
  • Coworker 30s (in job few months, but prior experience here and elsewhere) male
  • Me (coworkers assistant <1 year) female

My Boss has asked me to review my coworkers work. However I often find mistakes in my coworker's performance. Only a small part of projects have crossed my desk for review. I am only notified after a big screw up is discovered. Sometimes, even mundane issues that shouldn't need review are made.

My Boss has told me earlier last year that I should ask my coworker if I had any questions. Unfortunately, Coworker doesn't usually provide complete answers.

How do I approach my boss about difficult it is reaching out to my coworker to resolve work performance issues?

Would it be unreasonable for me to defer going to my coworker and ask my Boss for help even after being instructed to only ask and review issues with my coworker?

  • 1
    Better now, you didn't need to delete the previous, just edit it using the edit function to the left of your username. I'll take a stab at the question to see if I can make it a little clearer and offer an answer. – Frank FYC Aug 2 '17 at 4:26
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    I believe this question could have a more signifocant title – DarkCygnus Aug 2 '17 at 4:27
  • @GrayCygnus working on that... – Frank FYC Aug 2 '17 at 4:29
  • @cantstartover, I don't think the infatuated part has any bearing here, the question is pretty cut and dry. Boss asked you to review coworker's work and if you have any problems to go to the coworker. Coworker isn't performing. How do you approach your boss about the problem? – Frank FYC Aug 2 '17 at 4:40
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    @Cantstartover Is your coworker aware that you are reviewing his work and in some cases that is because of a screw up or he has no idea why you are asking him questions? – Mariyan Aug 2 '17 at 7:19

Ultimately, you need to make your boss aware of the issue. However, as you'll effectively be going over your coworkers head in reporting the problems, there's a few things you'll need to have done first to make sure you're covered.

  1. Continue to ask questions and report issues to your coworker as instructed originally by your boss
  2. Ensure that you have all your correspondence between your coworker and yourself in writing - most likely via email
  3. Do this until you have 3 or 4 concrete examples of your coworker being unreasonable/unhelpful
  4. Ensure you've exhausted the ways in which you're able to try to interact with your coworker.

Essentially, you want to be able to show your boss categorically that your coworker isn't cooperating with you. Once you can show this, you need to approach your boss and explain what you've been trying to do, the resistance you've received from said coworker, and the impact this is having on your ability to do your job.

The important thing to remember when approaching your boss is to show that you've tried to be as helpful and flexible with your coworker as possible. Leave no room for it to come back onto you.


In most cases (YMMV), when people give part answers, they are not aware of it.

I actually do this more often than I would like to admit. Someone will ask me a question and I believe I have answered it. Luckily, if my co-workers did not get the answer they were looking for, they will just outline to me what information they are missing and I will fill the gaps.

The reason this happens (at least to me), is that I am in the middle of the work, so I often forget to mentions details that I think are just known to everybody. The fact of the matter is, these details I leave out are not always known.

This is something I am working on and have gotten much better at over the past year. All you need to do is ask this co-worker to clarify anything that needs clarification. If the co-worker refuses to work with you then go to your boss and outline that the co-worker is being difficult.


Unfortunately, Coworker doesn't usually provide complete answers.

Aware your boss about Coworkers response. Explain your boss in polite way that coworkers are not cooperating properly or not providing you complete answers.

If you won't tell fact to boss, only you will be in trouble.

  • 3
    Not giving full or good answers doesn't mean the colleague doesn't cooperate. Maybe he thinks his answers are sufficient. – rath Aug 2 '17 at 8:55

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