How To Complain About A Co-Worker

When making a complaint about a colleague, it’s better to use ‘I' statements which focus more on the problem, as opposed to focusing on what you think is 'wrong’ with your colleague.

On this page, you will find a sample script, putting you in the middle of a conversation between an employee and their line manager. An employee takes a lot of personal calls to his work phone. His colleague isn’t happy about it and when he speaks to his co-worker about it, he feels like it falls on deaf ears. He goes to his manager to make a complaint about it.



Employee: I’ve had to deal with a lot of Jake’s calls over the past couple of weeks.

Manager: Okay. Why are they ‘Jake’s calls’ and not your own? Do you think the system isn’t splitting them evenly between everyone?

Employee: Well, you see, Jake’s phone has been tied up a lot throughout the day, which has led his calls to go to my line instead.

Manager: Yes, he’s working hard, just like everyone else.

Employee: No, boss. That’s not the case. I’ve overheard a lot of personal calls being taken by Jake.

Manager: Personal calls? You’re sure?

Employee: Yes, and it usually wouldn’t concern me, but some of my own customers are going to voicemail, so it’s affecting my job directly.

Manager: Okay. Leave this with me and I’ll check it out and speak to Jake directly.

Employee: Thank you.



  • The employee defines the issue to his manager as a business problem and not a personal issue. Making this distinction makes the problem a company problem. Management would consider this immediately and take necessary action.

  • Sticking to the ‘I' statement rule ensures that management won’t see this as a personal squabble. The employee focuses on the affects of the situation, rather than the reason.


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