“Steve” blames others when he makes mistakes, and even bragged about watching an entire movie at his desk.

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Q: Our new co-worker is a most unpleasant person. “Steve” is easily frustrated and prone to angry outbursts. He complains constantly and blames others when he makes mistakes. Steve also does very little work. He is usually chatting with friends or playing games on his phone. He even bragged about watching an entire movie at his desk.

Because Steve is still a probationary employee, he could easily be let go. However, our boss is located in a different area, so he may be unaware of these issues. How can we inform him without looking like a bunch of tattletales?

A: By allowing a probationary deadline to slip, many managers get stuck with problematic employees, so your group’s feedback could be quite helpful. Just be sure to provide factual observations, not a litany of personal complaints.

For example: “We wanted to let you know that we have concerns about Steve. He spends a lot of time on nonwork activities and frequently complains about his job. He also gets angry easily and avoids taking responsibility for his errors. Since he is still in his probationary period, we thought we should share this information.”

Answer any questions your manager may have, thank him for listening, and then go on about your business. Regardless of what he ultimately decides, you will have provided a useful perspective.

(What if the slacker in question isn’t a probationary employee? The advice is similar.)