One man’s ‘tattletale’ is another’s truth-teller

Deliberate shifts in perspective and attitude can dramatically and positively change personal and professional lives in ways never imagined possible. Placing you and your goals front and center sets things in motion and opens new doors for you and for others. It’s about getting unstuck and finding an alternative route to a better life and helping others to do so along the way.Remember, positive actions, not a positive attitude, will make all the difference. Ask the right questions, take the right actions and you will be able to navigate through all the obstacles and roadblocks.Q. A colleague of mine is really bringing down morale in our office, and the boss doesn’t see it (or doesn’t want to see it). How do I address this problem before everyone quits, yet not seem like a “tattletale” when I do it?A. Be bold. I have always admired people who simply, calmly and kindly acknowledge the elephant in the living room. We often make simple things oh-so-complex.One time when I was involved in a simple professional struggle at work, and the “tattletale” issue was on my mind, a good friend asked me a “cut to the chase” question. “What is this, junior high school?” This was my cue that I was not focused on the right thing. I let the “tattletale” issue go.Telling the truth to people who need to hear it is the way to address this problem. If the truth is presented from a “good place” in an appropriate, honest, respectful way, your leadership skills will be appreciated and noted. Practice with a friend or colleague and then set up a meeting with your boss. You can’t control how the message is received, but you can be optimistic, straightforward and clear about the delivery.And when you do, you give your boss a chance to be a leader, too.Q. My co-worker and I are both single and share a lot of the same interests. Our relationship is becoming more than platonic. While not specifically prohibited by my company’s policies, is dating in the workplace OK?A. I sure hope so because that’s where most of us are meeting people with whom we’re interested in dating and/or being friends. Having said that, let me also state another obvious: supervising a friend of any sort is a challenge, and often next to impossible.As relationships begin and evolve in the workplace, everyone needs to pay attention and recognize and deal with the complexities that might present themselves. In my opinion, the biggest simple practice to avoid is secrecy. If it’s against company policy, then a transition to another company (unless you can change policy) is the logical answer.If relationships are accepted, being up front and visible about what is going on is wise. Begin with yes: “Yes, we are in a relationship, and yes, we’re focused on what complications arise and yes, we’re working openly to address and resolve these issues.”The transparency eliminates the gossip and intrigue and let’s everyone involved help create office practices that can more easily accommodate the relationship.Q. Succession planning – what does it entail, and more importantly, how can I encourage employees to take on increasing responsibility?A. The best way to encourage growth is to set an example and create a pathway that motivated employees can follow. Also, keep your eyes open for those employees who get and seem to seek out new experiences.There are always a few high-energy people in most businesses, and when you find them, make it easy for them to keep moving, and notice and comment on their positive contributions.When it comes to succession planning, I am not a big believer. Too many times this encourages supervisors to force-fit people into situations that don’t really fit. Personally, I wouldn’t put a lot of energy into succession planning. Instead, create a workplace that’s exciting, dynamic and fun, and you’ll see that exciting, dynamic and fun people will be attracted to your workforce. Then when you have an opening, you may have the right person in-house, and if you don’t, attracting the right person to join your company will be easy. nhbrPaul Boynton, president and chief executive of Moore Center Services, Manchester, is also a personal coach, corporate consultant, motivational speaker, host of the television show, “Begin with Yes” and author of the book by the same name. He can be reached at