Ask the Coach

Nationally syndicated workplace columnist Marie McIntyre answers your "in the trenches" workplace questions on everything from team-building to dealing with difficult people. Marie has more than 20 years experience as a manager, business owner and the HR director at a Fortune 500 company. She writes a nationwide newspaper column and her web site, www.YourOfficeCoach.com, offers a variety of career success strategies. Send your question to Marie at Marie@businessmanagementdaily.com.
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A colleague is bugging us … literally!

October 5, 2017
Q:  “A co-worker told me that he brings a voice recorder to work to catch people talking behind his back. He will tape it underneath a desk or hide it behind a picture. We used to be friends, but I now seem to be on the list of people that he hates. I’ve started searching my work area every morning to be sure his recorder isn’t there. Should I bring this to the attention of human resources?”  —Nervous in Indiana

I discovered an ad for my own job!

September 20, 2017
Q: “I recently learned that my manager may be planning to replace me. A fellow member called to inquire about an opening here after he saw an ad on the association website. I told him that I wasn’t aware of any vacancies, but when I looked up the ad, I essentially found my own job description under a different title. I can’t believe my boss thought I wouldn’t find out about this. Should I talk to him? Or should I just apply for my own job?”  —Betrayed

When grownups bring the playground into the office

September 7, 2017

Q: “I am 28 years old and currently serving in the US Army. In the shop where I work, we have a lot of younger guys. They act so childish that it’s embarrassing to call them soldiers. They think everything is a joke and have no clue when to back off. Being deployed away from my wife and family is tough enough without having to deal with these immature, smart-mouthed kids. I mentioned this to our sergeant, but he just brushed me off. What can I do?” Grown-up Soldier

‘Different’ management style doesn’t mean ‘wrong’

August 24, 2017
Question:  “Our new director wants to be ‘more available by being less available.’ He says we must make an appointment to meet with him, then he will come to our office at the scheduled time. His explanation is that managing our time will increase everyone’s productivity. Now I’m afraid that when I have a question or problem, I won’t be able to get an answer. What do you think about this?”

When vagueness is your friend

August 15, 2017

Q: “I share an office with a very nosy woman. ‘Tricia’ constantly monitors my activities and asks what I’m doing. My job involves spending time on the Internet, so she probably thinks I’m Web surfing. Tricia seems jealous of my friendship with other co-workers and frequently inquires about their personal business. Although I love my job, I’m becoming paranoid about my office mate. What should I do?” – Tricia’s Target

Back away from the keyboard — email isn’t the place to decry a boss

July 27, 2017

Q: “After joining this company six weeks ago, I quickly learned that my new boss is a tyrant. ‘Doug’ constantly makes insulting and demeaning remarks, to the point that I am almost in tears every day. I am considering sending the vice president an email with the truth about Doug, but I’m afraid this might backfire. What do you think?”

Why you might want to give an annoyingly loud co-worker a pass

July 14, 2017

Q: “’Paula’, one of our team members, talks so loudly that we can hear every word of her phone conversations and discussions with other co-workers. The constant sound of her voice is both distracting and annoying. I personally believe this is just Paula’s pathetic attempt to show us how busy and important she is. Everyone walks on eggshells around Paula, including our team leader, because she is very defensive and can be downright mean if someone rubs her the wrong way. To make it worse, Paula is good friends with the human resources manager, so no one is willing to complain about her. What can we do about this?”

When the boss has a lousy memory

June 30, 2017

Q: “In an effort to attract new customers, the small shop where I work recently created a Facebook page. During weekly staff meetings, our manager has the whole team brainstorm Facebook ideas, then authorizes me to make the changes. Before I post an update, I always talk with her to be sure I have it right. Recently though, a co-worker informed me that our manager feels I’m not keeping her up to date regarding the information on Facebook. Apparently, she doesn’t remember our discussions. Should I start sending her a confirming email after every conversation?”

Leave my job or stay? Leave, stay, leave, stay … help!

June 16, 2017

Q: “I’m having trouble deciding whether to change jobs. For a number of years, I have worked for a small local company. After looking for other opportunities, I have finally found a position that interests me. This job would provide a better compensation package and more career potential, but the downside is that I would have to travel 30% of the time. I’m hesitant about leaving my current job, but I also think a change might be healthy. My crystal ball just isn’t working, so I would welcome any suggestions.”

When a co-worker becomes your boss … and not the good kind

June 1, 2017

Q: “I have become very disillusioned with my manager. ‘Brian’ and I worked well together as peers for several years, collaborating on a variety of successful projects, until a new CEO promoted me and demoted him. Recently, that CEO was replaced by a guy who worked with Brian twenty years ago. Now he has decided to make Brian my boss. Unfortunately, Brian has turned out to be an ineffective manager who doesn’t want me to have any visibility. Some trusted colleagues have shown me emails in which he takes credit for my work. Brian praises me to my face, but apparently does not share these positive comments with higher-level executives. I’m starting to feel that leaving is my only choice. What’s your advice?”

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