Wednesday, February 9, 2011

Tattle Tale

In every workplace or on every team we've witnessed the one person who feels compelled to bring it to our attention when another employee has done something wrong or has failed at their job. Just like I tell my kids when one of them comes to me to "Inform" me about the wrong doings of one of their siblings, don't be a tattle tale.

To be trusted is a greater compliment than to be loved. ~ George MacDonald

With kids we expect this kind of behavior from time to time. But with grown adults? Amazing as it sounds, it happens everyday in every workplace at some point. So what does the, "Tattle Tale" behavior do to the workplace?

  • Disrupts Team unity: When one member of the workplace fills the need to inform on another it creates a divide in the team and workplace. It also creates distrust between the workers as well. The tattle tale is into self promotion which is directly in contradiction to the idea of team.
  • Backstabbing: If not nipped in the bud quickly, others will start to follow the tattle tales lead. Your employees will start to backstab one another and create havoc in the workplace.
  • Appearance of favorites: Depending on how well or not so well you deal with this individual, it could appear to others that your playing favorites with your workers. Once this perception or reality sets in, it is very hard to eradicate it.
  • Stress: With everyone running around backstabbing and telling on one another, the stress level on your team and in the workplace will soar. Everyone will be watching their backs and be worried about every step they take will be analyzed and reported.
  • Retention will plummet: Your employees will start to abandon ship, they will find other employment and get out of this terrible environment. Especially your top performers, they will not stay in this environment long
  • Lack of loyalty and trust between workers and leadership: The workplace will split into protective cliques and be very leery of the leadership. Loyalty and trust will be non-existent and nothing of any value will be created.
The glue that holds all relationships together - including the relationship between; the leader and the led is trust, and trust is based on integrity~Brian Tracy

I know there are times when employees bring very real and legitimate concerns or problems to leadership. I'm not talking about these cases, I'm talking about the employees that are self-serving and looking to improve their standing by standing on others. Be quick to address this type of behavior or it will kill your team and workplace quickly.

Have you ever seen this type of, "Tattle Tail" in your workplace? What was the effects of it? Please share your experiences, it is appreciated. 


Bob said...


All of those things you listed are certainly very real.

My most recent position had me in a supervisory position over other Navy Chiefs (my peers) for the first time. Finding a balance between providing the Chain of Command with an honest assessment of an individuals performance without damaging the relationship inside the mess can be difficult, precisely because of the factors you listed.

Voices of Leadership said...


Thanks for stopping by, much appreciated.

I know all to well what your saying. Especially when we are discussing politics within the mess. It's a fine line between brotherhood and being labeled a sellout.

Sometimes the truth hurts, it's hard to give an honest assessment to one of your peers. They should be thankful that you are being straight with them, that way they know where their weak areas are and can get better. I appreciate your comment and the time to make it.


Anonymous said...

It makes for a very poor workplace experience and effects not only the individual(s) but the business itself. If it's not a big deal, don't squeal. You do nothing but gain resentment and hatred when you behave like a child. To get ahead in the workplace, you should rely on your own merit, not your co-workers slight mis-doings. What happened to hard work and dedication? Now it seems the ass-kissers get ahead while the workers focused on their job and the work that needs to be done get the shit end of the stick....not only sad, it's disgusting!

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