Expert Evaluation For “Telling a Supervisor About a Huge Mistake You Overheard”,”expert-evaluation-telling-supervisor-huge-mistake-overheard/01/2016

Sometimes people are unpleasant, and we may be tempted to wait for the right moment in order to “teach them a lesson.” However, this is never a good interior attitude. Instead, we should always try our best to help them be pleasant and understand their mistakes (Caring for Others).


Moreover, the present scenario is not just about John and his colleagues. It is about a company running the risk of losing a substantial amount of money. In this case, every employee has to put his or her personal issues aside, share relevant knowledge, and avoid any confusion between personal issues and what’s in the best interest of the company (Loyalty).


The most obvious solution that will give John a chance to appreciate his colleagues, maintain strong relationships, and create a positive atmosphere within the department is to speak with him directly. If he won’t listen to reason, then his superior should be involved (Good Deliberation). The supervisor may form a bad impression of an employee who doesn’t try to reason with his colleagues in an effort to help them and the company (Foresight).


Speaking to John requires Detachment from one’s feelings and Fortitude to not fear his bad temper and reactions (avoiding Cowardice), and it is definitely not without risks. He may decide to not take your suggestions into account, and the company will still suffer a loss of resources. Ultimately, it’s important to make sure that the issue is resolved by John or someone else (Caution). As bad as John’s attitude may be, there is no reason to put him in a bad light with the other colleagues or supervisor (Avoid Detraction). Even if it is necessary or appropriate to speak with a supervisor about the “dangerous mistake,” there is no point in sharing about personal difficulties with John. This may be appropriate under other circumstances, which are not mentioned in the present scenario. Unless there are extra circumstances (not mentioned in this scenario), it is certainly not appropriate to get other colleagues like David involved (Method). David may resent it, and the whole thing could backfire on the person who tries to help (Foresight).


Special Circumstances to Consider:

  • If you knew for sure that John would not listen to you—that he would completely ignore you.
  • If the Supervisor was already aware of John’s attitude and of your difficulties in dealing with him.
  • If you are absolutely sure that David is the best person to talk with John and that he would be willing speak to him.



Dilemmas are a powerful way to improve your life now by testing your values. Keep discovering your values by answering more dilemmas here.


Read Fulvio Di Blasi’s full bio here.