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.

Step up to the plate with an ineffective manager

July 26, 2018
Question: My boss has a hard time keeping his feelings to himself. For example, he frequently tells us that he’ll probably be fired because management doesn’t like him.  He also says that senior management has doubts about the value of our department. Because of his paranoid comments, the staff is starting to feel resentful toward the company, and morale is declining rapidly. Personally, I’m very happy with both the company and my job, but my manager’s pessimistic attitude still drags me down. What can I do?  Bummed Out

Office feuds: Sink your career in seconds

June 26, 2018
Q: “I feel that I have been betrayed by one of my peers. ‘Chuck’ and I are both senior vice-presidents, reporting to the president of our company. In a recent executive team meeting, Chuck stated that an employee in my department has been intercepting and reading the president’s email for several months. Chuck has apparently known this for some time, but instead of telling me privately, he chose to throw me under the bus by revealing it in front of our boss. After this humiliating betrayal, I’m not sure how to act around Chuck. Should I just speak to him when we have to work together and ignore him the rest of the time?” Infuriated

When the bottom drops out of your career

June 7, 2018
Q: “Two years ago, my immediate boss, with whom I had a great relationship, was forced to resign. Shortly thereafter, I had a serious conflict with a colleague who was extremely close to our department vice president. After that incident, my career went downhill, although I had previously received high performance ratings and a promotion. I began to look for another job, but the economy took a nosedive and my wife was diagnosed with cancer, so leaving was completely out of the question. Now my wife is well again, and the economy has improved. But after having my self-esteem pounded on a daily basis, I no longer feel confident that anyone will hire me. Can you offer any advice?” Hopeless

The bad breath dilemma: Confront, evade or suffer in silence?

April 18, 2018
Q: “My co-worker, ‘Carly,’ has very bad breath. If she comes into my office for even a few minutes, the odor is still there after she leaves. This is really bothering me, but I don’t know how to tell her about it.” Gagging

When the boss wants a say in absolutely everything

March 2, 2018

Q: “My boss, ‘Karen,’ feels the need to control absolutely everything. Ever since Karen promoted me last year, I have been so frustrated that I can hardly stand it. How can I work with this obsessive woman?”

You never know when comments about others’ performance will resurface

February 18, 2018
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

Beware the sullen co-worker’s sinister quicksand

February 9, 2018

Q: “Ever since I came to work here a year ago, I have gotten nothing but attitude from the woman in the next cubicle. I keep trying to be nice to ‘Mandy,’ but she refuses to develop any kind of relationship with me. Sometimes she doesn’t speak to me at all. Our supervisor told us that we needed to work on our communication problem, but that didn’t help at all. This situation has me ready to explode, but I know that getting angry will only make me look bad. What should I do?”

Confronting the ‘TMI’ employee

January 9, 2018
Q: “Whenever one of my employees, ‘Gina,’ has personal problems, she describes them to everyone in excruciating detail. Then she calls her friends on the phone to talk about them some more. Gina does a good job, but these conversations take up a lot of time. How can I put a stop to this without seeming hard-hearted?” Caring & Concerned

When do you tell the boss about a diagnosis of depression?

January 2, 2018

Q: “For the past five years, I have suffered from depression. During that time, I have been on and off medication. However, I have never told my employer about this problem. During my recent performance review, I received a ‘needs improvement’ rating for the first time, which was very upsetting. Do you think I should tell my manager about my depression?”

How to perform the ‘truth dance’ after you’ve been fired

December 8, 2017

Q: “Are applicants required to tell a potential future employer that they were terminated from their previous job? If so, how should this be done?”