My coworker won’t share crucial information

Jim Berlucchi
Question: 

My coworker “protects” information, because she’s afraid I can do her job better than she can. It makes it difficult to cover her in her absences, which I’m expected to do. How can I deal with this without being a “tattletale” to our boss?

Apply the four cardinal virtues. You might remember them from the catechism (1805-09). They’re essential for human excellence and, from top to bottom, also give us a roadmap for problem solving.

Prudence. This is the perfected ability of right decision making. It’s the charioteer of the other three virtues, and it’s all about being rational – getting the best result through the best means. Get clear on your goal. Your bottom line result is good coverage during your coworker’s absences. To get there you’ll need:

Justice. You need to be fair to both your employer and your coworker. Since your primary obligation is to your boss, you must insist on having the necessary knowledge from your colleague. To achieve that, muster your:

Courage. Take the bull by the horns, but don’t take any bull. Make it clear to her that you must be fully informed to fill in for her. Ask her if she’s going to disclose information. If she agrees and performs – problem solved. If she won’t, tell her you’ll be informing your boss of the problem. Then, if necessary, do it. And throughout the whole process, put on:

Self-control (temperance). You’re cool as a cucumber. You don’t let anger or pride provoke vengeance or agitation. Direct your emotions to the right end in the right way. If you keep these four virtues in mind and practice, you can apply them for any life event or problem. Play the right “cards” and you’ll never lose a hand.