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Ask Savvy: How Should I Critique My Co-Worker?

Dear Savvy,

Today, my manager called me asking me to write up a report about a fellow co-worker. I had mentioned that she was having some difficulties adjusting to the workplace, that she was rude to us, and where she was getting better but that she still often isn't on task. I told her that I would, but I just sat down to write it and have no idea what to say, how to say it, etc. Any suggestions?

Savvy says: Your manager is essentially asking you to put your spoken criticism in writing. See my thoughts on this situation when you


Your manager is taking your co-worker concerns seriously which means they need to be added to her employee file. It's not a test for you; it's simply your manager's job to make sure that all complaints are recorded appropriately, and it's more legitimate to have the report coming from the person that has witnessed reportable behavior.


You obviously had enough to say about the situation when you originally presented the complaints, so just expand on what you've already told the manager. You say that she's having difficulties adjusting to the workplace, so you should state that along with a deeper explanation of why you feel that way. Each judgment should be paired with a real-office observation to illustrate what's going on with your co-worker — this will keep your report sounding professional.

You don't need to go off on tangents about the co-worker, just write enough to get your point across. Also keep in mind that you don't have to include every little imperfection you've seen in the individual. It's better to focus on the big things (like the fact that she's often off-task) rather than her habit of taking an extra five minutes at lunch (or something equally minimal).

Have a question for me? Ask away by posting your questions in my Ask Savvy group and I may answer it on the site!

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