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To subordinates

Guidelines : To subordinates

Complaining to Subordinates

Guidelines and Alternate Phrases

State the problem up front.

Mention the reason for or benefit of resolving the matter rather than dwelling on the problem itself. Simply because you have the necessary authority to complain and get immediate action, don’t press the advantage. If you can get action with a whisper, why shout?

This change should make us all more productive.

This action should save us immeasurable time, effort, and money.

Such clear-cut directives, I hope, will make things easier for all of us.

Let me know if you don’t find this system much easier for you.

While this procedure may be slightly more time-consuming, I think you’ll agree it will make your efforts more productive over the long haul.

Anything we can do to make this project a success is worth our every effort.

Assume the problem is a matter of oversight in a situation where your message may be taken as an accusation of dishonesty or incompetence.

Focus primarily on appropriate action or inaction, not blame and responsibility for the problem. Those under your supervision will generally be wary about any complaint from you and tend to read into it a negative mark against their record. Such a “watched” feeling can prohibit a business-as-usual response on their part.

While the reason for these errors is irrelevant at this point, I’m sure this new procedure should eliminate them in the future.

Regardless of who was ultimately responsible for the situation, please join me in this corrective action.

The solution, not the cause, is my primary concern now.

Keep the tone positive, not sarcastic or overbearing.

Let’s make every effort to make the next one a success.

With such careful attention to these details, I’m sure we’ll see improvement to make us all proud.

Thank you for helping me correct this situation.

I sincerely appreciate your attention to this problem and have every confidence you can turn the situation around.

I’m looking forward to your very best efforts next time and know you won’t let me down.

I certainly appreciate the can-do attitude I find every time we discover a situation that needs improving.

May I count on your full cooperation?

Would you help me correct this situation?

Example 1: Letter for Complaint to your subordinates





SUBJECT: Advertising

Phony “Going Out of Business,” Closing Doors,” “Liquidation,” “Must Vacate Today,” or “Make Us an Offer” advertising is contrary to our standards here in Hillsboro. If deceptive, these ads are totally unacceptable.

If you have questions about any advertising you are asked to run, please clear the ad copy with me first. Let’s keep the reputation of our newspaper beyond reproach by screening ourselves rather than having our readers embarrass us by discovering less-than-honest deals advertised in our pages.

I also suggest you keep this notice as a permanent reminder when customers try “to slip one by you.”


Example 2: Example letter for Complaint to your subordinates





SUBJECT: Service applications

It has come to my attention customers have been told we cannot take their service applications over the phone. Please correct this misunderstanding. We should most willingly take the application information over the phone and then, of course, ask them to complete (or verify) the written information when they come in for the first consultation.

This make-it-easy policy should be good news to our customers and should also increase our clerks’ sales records. In other words, they can “sign up the live ones” before they change their minds or simply neglect to come in personally by our weekly deadlines.

I appreciate your help in clarifying this policy to all involved.


Example 3: Official complaint letter

Company Name or Letterhead
City, State Zip


City, State Zip

Dear Barbara:

As we agreed on the phone, the ad for the medical transciptionist that appeared in the Globe yesterday gave Ms. Holly Merritta’s name and phone number. However, the arrangement of the ad is very confusing, and, as a result, Ms. Merritta has received numerous misdirected inquiries regarding pathology and radiology positions.

Also, the primary reason for the ad was specifically to mention the new pay plan–$5 per 1000 words–at all our branch clinics. (I fear that transcription applicants assumed we were still using the old pay plan and remembered the previous erroneous ad.) Future ads should emphasize our new pay schedule and generate leads for the best-qualified applicants in the field.

Therefore, would you please prepare another ad draft for the July 6 paper, announcing six open positions? The ad should include Ms. Merritta’s name and phone number and, specifically, the exact pay rate of the plan. I will review this new ad and will give you approval on it before any newspaper deadlines. Also, I want to approve all transcription ads for all clinics before they are submitted to the media.

Thank you for helping make sure our advertising gives the message and image we want presented to the public.


Example 4: Letter To subordinates




SUBJECT: Speeding Up Loan Processing and Approval

When sending a loan request to us for approval, would you please also send along a signed note and a copy of the board of directors’ meeting minutes authorizing the loan request? This would certainly speed up the processing and approval in our office.

Example 5: To subordinates Letter




SUBJECT: Petty Cash Disbursements

From the discrepancies between the actual balance in our petty cash box and the balance shown on the disbursement/accounting record, it is apparent not all receipts are being returned and recorded.

To improve our petty-cash accounting procedures, Sherri Blunton (or, in her absence, Michaela Smith) will disperse all funds from the cash box. She/he, then, will be responsible for recording all withdrawals, collecting and recording receipt amounts, and noting returned cash.

Thanks for your cooperation in correcting this matter.


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