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My Co-Worker is Rude and Won’t Say Good Morning…

Dear CEO —

My co-worker, Rebecca, won’t reply when I say good morning to her.

I want to tell my CEO how rude she’s being. But there’s one problem….

Rebecca is his assistant. And that's not all.

She's constantly making jokes at other peoples expense.
She's runs around telling people what to do even though we don't work for her.

I don’t understand how my CEO allows this. Surely, he must notice it.

I want to bring it up but.....

I’m worried the CEO will defend her.
I’m worried about retribution and making the situation worse.
I’m worried about the team morale if this continues.

How do I handle this situation? Please help.

— Jennifer, White Plains, NY

How would you respond?

Scroll below to read the CEO’s answer and join the team’s conversation here.

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My Co-Worker is Rude and Won’t Say Good Morning…

Dear Jennifer,

As someone who has had my share of great assistants – and maybe a few who thought I resembled the Devil Wears Prada! – I can assure you the last thing a CEO wants is a problematic assistant who actually doesn’t assist anybody.

That said, CEOs (like me) HATE DRAMA and encourage you to take the initiative to solve the problem without my intervention as a first step, that hopefully ends there. 

Wouldn’t that be great if that all worked out!

But, alas we all know that it does not always go the way we want, and occasionally need the help of the boss.

If your direct constructive feedback didn’t persuade assistance from the assistant, then it's time to have that conversation with your CEO.

Here are some steps you can take to effectively communicate your concerns to the CEO:

Choose the right time and place: 

Find a suitable moment when the CEO is approachable and not preoccupied with other pressing matters. Consider scheduling a meeting or finding a private moment where you can have a one-on-one conversation.

Focus on specific behaviors and impacts:

Be prepared with concrete examples of the executive assistant's negative behavior and the impact it has on the work environment. Stick to observable facts rather than making personal attacks or assumptions. This will help the CEO understand the situation objectively and see your concerns as more than a personality conflict.

Express your observations with facts - less feelings: 

Start the conversation by acknowledging your observations regarding the executive assistant's behavior. Use "I" statements to express how their actions/behaviors impact you and others, rather than make sweeping generalizations.

For example, you could say, "In reviewing our reporting process, I have noticed that the team, including myself, is more often delaying field reports to you to avoid having to interact directly with the executive assistant. This is not an ideal scenario and ultimately impacts our product response times. Let me share some examples with you of when and why this seems to occur.”

Highlight the impact on productivity and morale:

Emphasize how the executive assistant's behavior may be affecting productivity, teamwork, and overall employee morale.

Explain that a positive and respectful work environment is crucial for everyone's well-being and that addressing these issues can improve overall performance and create a sense of conduct accountability.

Suggest potential solutions - even better if it promotes benefit beyond the specific scenario:

The CEO has enough work to do as it is. Don’t make him/her have to do all the thinking on this one. Offer constructive suggestions for addressing the issue.

For instance, you could propose implementing clear guidelines or policies on respectful workplace behavior, conducting professional development training, or considering a feedback system for employees to share their concerns. This shows that you are proactive and invested in finding a resolution that could benefit all employees.

Request the CEO's intervention:

Respectfully request the CEO's involvement in addressing the situation. Highlight the importance of their role in setting the tone for the workplace culture and emphasize the need for action to maintain a healthy work environment. Make it clear that your intention is not to undermine the executive assistant but to promote a more positive and productive atmosphere for the entire team.

Remember to approach the conversation with logical empathy and maintain a professional tone throughout. By focusing on the impact of the executive assistant's behavior and suggesting constructive solutions, you can help the CEO understand the issue without feeling defensive.


Your Turn…

Do you disagree with the CEO’s advice?

See what the rest of the team is saying about Jennifer’s situation and weigh in with you own thoughts here.

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