So anyways, this morning I had to tell my boss that another member of our team who is a peer is not cleaning something as it's supposed to be cleaned.

I tried using the peer feedback model (he's not my boss, he's a peer) and I basically said, with asking if I could give him some feedback.

"When you do not shut down the grill from 4 AM to 5 AM to clean it properly, it puts our customers at risk of getting ill from the chemicals we use, customers make me out to be the bad guy because I am doing it and you are not and the grill does not come nearly as clean, how do you think we can fix this?".

Now, obviously he was very unreceptive of this feedback, accused me of brown nosing our boss, etc, etc.

Now, as I said, this morning I confronted my general manager with this situation, and explained that it was causing a great deal of problems for me and his crew. He said he would talk to him about it. Now, my boss, is not the most discrete guy so I know this conversation started off with "Zack said".

Now, this peer helped me get where I am today, but he's very abrasive, not someone that I relate to in the task of management. He's a little rude, and the conversation is likely to involve profanities and such. Now, obviously, I can use the feedback model, but it's not going to do much good, because he believes that his attitude is acceptable in the course of communication.

Now, I am a person where, when someone else gets confrontational or angry with me, I go back in to my shell, and sorta hide. I back down and honestly, this is a topic that due to my belief in food safety and the fact that profitability is at risk here, I cannot back down on.

So... keeping in mind that I'm bad at confrontational events, how should I handle it?

Mark's picture
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I'm not following you. Why did you "have" to tell your boss? And, had you talked to your peer first? And if you did talk to him first, why would you be kissing up to your boss if you hadn't talked to your boss yet?

Sorry about the profanities you may have to weather... but welcome to management and peer relationships.

Start getting used to confrontation, or take a different career path. Management is a constant stream of confrontations. The best managers have the same amount of difficult moments as weaker managers, but they don't take it personally and work through them.


zvanbrak's picture

Mark, I had talked to my peer before talking to my boss. Sorry, I was a bit tired when I wrote that post.

I explained to him the proper process and he said basically in a nutshell "It's bad for business, and I don't want to do it" and I said "Well, this is how we do it, and if we don't have one way to do it, customer service suffers."
(we're a restaurant franchise, so... we want our procedures to be universal, if you catch my drift)

Well, I had noticed when I returned from my days off, that the grill had clearly not been done properly. There is a noticeable difference when done properly. As well, I confronted both mine and his direct reports and they confirmed my suspicions that the grill had not been turned off and cleaned properly. I didn't confront him regarding the issue a second time, because my opinion clearly mattered little to him, so I figured bringing it to the attention of my boss was the proper way to handle the situation.

Now, the biggest impact of this issue is on food safety. Obviously, when something is clean, there is little risk of foodborne sickness.

So... I guess now, my question is, was there a better way to confront the issue? My personal feelings are you can't speak the truth to deaf ears, if you get my drift, but my boss can usually open the ears better than I can.

Mark's picture
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I would have gone about this differently.

First, I want to suggest you rethink the word "confront". Here are some common definitions:

oppose, as in hostility or a competition;
deal with (something unpleasant) head on;
present somebody with something, usually to accuse or criticize.

Not the mentality that works best for peer feedback.

Feedback is NO BIG DEAL. It's NOT confrontation, and any whiff of that is antithetical to it.

I wouldn't have gone to the boss. I would have talked to the guy again. If he refused, just let it go, and [b]figure out how to get the grill cleaned.[/b]

When you go to the boss this quickly, I believe you're likely to get the response you did from many folks, not just folks like this guy.

Keep talking to the guy, and keep it NON-confrontational.