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.

You never know when comments about others’ performance will resurface

April 18, 2019
Q: “In my unit, I hold the position of union coordinator, which is a liaison between management and employees. One of my responsibilities is to talk with the supervisor about productivity, so in the past I have been candid about individual performance issues. I didn’t expect this information to be used against anyone. Recently, however, our supervisor gave some performance warnings that seem based on my comments. Now I feel trapped in the middle of a conflict between management and my co-workers. I don’t know whether I should remain neutral or take a side, so I’m afraid to say anything. Do you have any advice?” No-Win Situation

What are the politics behind your job title?

March 4, 2019
Q: “Our new Executive Director wants to change my job title from ‘communications director’ to ‘communications manager.’ I don’t believe the title of ‘manager’ accurately reflects the complexity of my work. When I meet with my boss to discuss this issue, I plan to show him my current job description and explain how my work is instrumental to achieving his vision for the company. Do you have any other suggestions?” More than a Manager

New co-worker has ruined my job!

February 10, 2019
Question:  “I can’t stand my new co-worker, even though she seemed nice at first.  After only a few months, this woman is already trying to take over.  She constantly sucks up to our boss, so now he listens to her instead of me.  Whenever I talk about my personal life, she becomes very critical and starts telling me what to do

When an envelope full of cash is the last thing you want to see

January 4, 2019
Q: “Our CEO has always distributed employee bonuses in group meetings. He gives the top performers an envelope containing a thank-you letter and a check. We have sixteen employees, but usually only one or two get an envelope. Most of those who are eligible for bonuses report to me, and the recipients have told me that being rewarded in front of their peers makes them uncomfortable. My personal opinion is that publicly handing out checks seems rather juvenile, so I believe these bonuses should be given in private. What do you think?” Middle Manager

Get over ‘impostor syndrome’ with a little method acting

December 17, 2018
Q: “I was recently promoted to manage a group of people who used to be my peers. Even though I was the team lead for a year, I’m finding it hard to supervise my former co-workers. As their manager, I feel that I am not being authoritative enough. How should I handle this?” Novice Boss

When the urge to rant strikes, know your audience

November 29, 2018
Q: “In my performance review, my supervisor wrote that I lack patience. She based this conclusion on some comments I made about our CEO during a recent project. This was extremely frustrating, so I often wound up venting to my boss. Although she seemed sympathetic, she now says that I was impatient. My overall review was good, but I am very upset about this comment.” Misunderstood

After a bad performance review, narrow your focus

November 6, 2018
Q: “I just had a horrible performance review in which I was given thirty days to improve as a supervisor. If my boss would stop micromanaging, I feel sure that I could demonstrate better leadership skills. How can I get her to change her management style? I love this job and don’t want to lose it.”  Anxious

Mysteriously fired? Spot the red flags

October 25, 2018
Q: “After ten years in my job, I was called into my boss’s office and informed that I was being fired. He said they were “no longer confident in my ability to complete the project.” This came as a total surprise, because I had always received positive performance reviews. I can’t understand how my employer could be so heartless. Shouldn’t they have told me what I was doing wrong and given me a chance to improve? Do I have any legal recourse?”  Blindsided

Are you really worth the money you think you are?

September 24, 2018
Q: “Even though I am a top performer, my pay is low based on market comparisons. To be smart about my career, I believe that I should refuse to accept this mediocre salary. If I’m offered a standard 5% raise, how do I say, ‘Thanks, but I’m worth more than that. What can you do to bring my pay up to market level?’” Underpaid

Base a big career move on facts, not hunches

August 9, 2018
Q: “I recently learned through the grapevine that an account manager who is assigned to work with me has said he would much rather work with someone else. Supposedly, he feels this other person is a lot more professional. Now my supervisor says that I’m being reassigned to a different group of accounts. If the account manager had problems with me, I wish he would have talked to me directly. I assume this means the writing is on the wall, so I have begun to look for other employment opportunities. I would like to leave gracefully, but I also want to tell someone what this individual said about me. Is that a good idea?”  Dazed & Confused