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.

More work, same pay–sound familiar?

August 27, 2015

Q: “I seem to be experiencing an increase in responsibility without any change in title or pay. I work for a large healthcare company which is headquartered in another state. In addition to myself, our office includes a part-time assistant and a newly-hired employee. Although the new employee and I have the same title, our boss has made me the lead person in the office. He expects me to coordinate communications and ensure that everything runs smoothly. We will soon be hiring another person, making me responsible for three employees. This would seem to warrant a promotion, but I’m not sure how to broach the subject.” Hesitant 

Office stalemates don’t get solved with email

August 13, 2015

Q: “My co-worker, ‘Angie,’ sent me a seething email saying that I talk about teamwork, but don’t act like a team player. This was a completely unexpected slam against me. I told our manager, and he spoke to Angie about it, but nothing else was done. Now, whenever I encounter Angie anywhere in the building, she immediately turns around and walks the other way. My boss says, ‘That’s just the way she is,’ but Angie doesn’t seem to act like this with anyone else. She doesn’t have to like me, but we do have to work together, so I can’t take much more of this.” Ignored

Overexplaining a past termination is a good way to not get hired again

July 24, 2015
Q: “My written termination notice misrepresents the reason that I no longer work for my former employer. It states that I failed to comply with the required start time of 8:00 AM. This is not the whole story, so I want to provide the actual facts in my upcoming job interviews. I don’t want to sell myself short by adhering to the company’s fiction that I was fired for tardiness, but I also don’t want to malign my former manager. How should I explain this situation?” Wronged

My boss has been criticizing me behind my back!

July 7, 2015

Q: “After working for five years as an executive assistant to my boss, I recently heard that he has been saying negative things about me to the managers who report to him. This puts me in a very awkward position, so I would like some advice about how to handle the situation.” Hurt & Offended

When performance issues just might be life or death

June 29, 2015

Q: “I supervise two dispatchers at our local 911 emergency center. Unfortunately, one of them won’t listen to anything I tell her. ‘Donna’ sometimes gives out incorrect directions, so I try to interrupt the call and correct her. She just ignores me and continues transmitting, which slows down the officers’ response.

“I have explained to Donna that I am only trying to ensure that we send help to the right address as quickly as possible. Although she says she understands, she continues to disregard my instructions.

“Donna doesn’t seem to care about her mistakes, so I don’t know what to do. I’ve talked to my manager, but he hasn’t been any help.” Worried Supervisor

Do you know where your performance appraisal is really coming from?

June 8, 2015

Q: “After working with my manager, ‘Julia,’ for eight years, I recently received my first negative performance appraisal. Julia plans to retire soon because she feels she has no future here. Our company was acquired two years ago, and the new management has a very different style. When I get a new boss, I’m afraid this appraisal will make a bad impression. What should I do?” Worried

When you’re asked to train someone for the job you should have gotten

May 26, 2015

Q: “I recently applied for the supervisory position in my department, but management selected an applicant from outside the company. Although my boss said I was not qualified for the position, he has now asked me to train the woman who was hired. If he thinks I’m not qualified, how can he expect me to train someone else?”  Rejected

Texting in the office: a problem, or just yet another distraction?

May 15, 2015

Q: “Our office has an outdated cellphone policy that doesn’t address text messaging. Most of our employees keep cellphones on their desk and do a lot of texting during the work day. Many people feel that management needs to step up and deal with this issue, because texting distracts people and reduces productivity. Don’t you think we should have a texting policy?” Annoyed

Got a snooty lifestyle judge on your staff?

May 11, 2015

Q: “One of my employees constantly criticizes her colleagues for making ‘immoral’ life choices. Her judgmental remarks are creating a very uncomfortable atmosphere on our team. As a business owner, I feel I have a responsibility to keep people from being harassed this way. What should I do?” Troubled Manager

This egregious example of time theft makes the recourse quite clear

May 4, 2015

Q: “I have a co-worker who is running a Web-based business on company time. ‘Linn’ spends hours monitoring her website, taking orders, sending invoices and arranging for shipments. At the end of the day, she prints out her documents and takes them home. Our boss appears to be completely unaware of these activities. He occasionally asks other employees to help Linn out because she’s so busy. However, she’s just busy making money for herself. Is there anything I can do?” Outraged