Ask "Z"

Find safe ground for toxic cynicism

March 14, 2014
Q. My employee is constantly cynical. She’s a good worker, but she’s always reading into others’ ulterior motives. And it’s always negative—a dark cloud drifting over the rest of us. I’m not sure cynicism is a disciplinary offense, but I can’t stand it anymore. What do I do?

Pick your own priorities and stay the course

March 7, 2014
Q: When I get doubts about how to prioritize my many projects, I’m tempted to ask my boss for a little guidance—but is it better to just fight through the chaos on my own in order to maintain his respect for my capacity to handle multiple tasks?

Want to be retained year after year? Create some drama

February 27, 2014
Q: I’m rising through the ranks of my company little by little, but times are very tough here … any advice on how to make myself layoff-proof?

Wary of delegation? Learn to let go

February 21, 2014
Q: When it comes to delegating, the sense that I’m giving up control and won’t be able to get the exact results I want just kills me. What can I do to get past this mental wall?

Demand that whiners get constructive

February 14, 2014
Q: I’m at my wit’s end about the complainers in the office who just can’t stop themselves from dragging negativity into the building. I’d love a go-to response for their griping.

When to rat them out, when to look the other way

February 7, 2014
Q. I recently overheard two of our employees trashing one of my favorite supervisors. It sounds like they’re scheming to embarrass the supervisor in a major way. I like to keep to myself, but in this case should I alert the supervisor?

Skip formal teams, try informal ones

January 31, 2014
Q. Teamwork is a core value here. But whenever I’m assigned to a team, it’s a free-for-all. No one works together. People just try to advance their own interests. Now I avoid getting onto teams, but that makes me look bad to the CEO who thinks I’m not a team player. Help!

Judge fairly–and slowly

January 24, 2014
Q. I’ve been watching my boss botch move after move for a few years now, and it’s tough not to get swept up in the talk at work about his errors. I’d like to play devil’s advocate a little just to keep it all from going overboard, but what argument can I make in defense of such a poor leader?

When an employee needs a reset–but not at your company

January 17, 2014
Q: I have an employee who has been a star in the past but just hasn’t been delivering for the last few years. It’s time for him to go. How do I approach this conversation? I expect there’ll be a demand for an explanation.

Make your team look good–or bow out

January 10, 2014
Q. I’m on a cross-functional team, where I keep coming up with great suggestions. I’m tired of team members who take credit for my best ideas. How can I get the credit I deserve?