Ask "Z"

Tell the truth, warts and all?

May 14, 2020
Q: Our company took a hit financially. So far, no layoffs, but I don’t know what the future will hold. Should I just be blunt with staff about our tenuous position and risk further damage to morale, or should I be silent and hope that we’ll pull through?

She’s great! When should I tell her?

April 9, 2020
Q. One of my workers is a high-potential employee whom I am seriously considering grooming for a VP job. My question is, should I inform her now, or wait until she proves herself a bit more? If I tell her now then I probably owe it to her; if I wait, I’m liable to lose her to another employer. Your thoughts?

‘Pedal’ the truth

April 9, 2020
Q. A few employees asked me if the company would “invest” in under-desk exercise cycles. They cost about $170 apiece. If we buy these for several employees, it would likely open a floodgate of more workers wanting them, setting us back thousands of dollars. Things like these are faddish and I could honestly see them going unused. Should I get them for what amounts to a short-term morale boost?

The next great Lifetime movie

March 11, 2020
Q. I’m a single female VP (it took me 10 years to rise up) who is romantically attracted to a charming male subordinate. We have a strict no-fraternization policy. I love my job and I’m falling in love with him. I know I can’t have both. Help!

Feeling the fire’s heat

March 11, 2020
Q. I received a directive from above to “find a reason to fire” a worker I hired several years ago. This person did nothing wrong from what I see, but the powers-that-be must have their reasons why they no longer want him employed here. Should I demand an explanation from them, or should I work on the termination?

Pssst! Guess who’s (not) getting fired!

February 13, 2020
Q. There’s a whisper campaign among employees that the company might be replacing me. There’s no truth to that. Should I shrug it off and let it die on its own or should I set the record straight?

The language of your door

February 13, 2020
Q. As an executive, I’ve got a lot on my plate that needs my undivided attention. With that said, I also have an open-door policy in which I encourage employees or front-line managers to use. However, not every issue they bring to me rises to the level of urgency. How can I keep an open-door policy and at the same time discourage people barging in with trivial problems that could wait?

Haters gonna hate, askers gonna ask

January 15, 2020
Q. Lately, many of my employees have been asking me what I think are inconvenient questions. This is causing me to fire back with a snide remark, rather than a constructive answer. What can I do?

If you can’t say something nice …

January 9, 2020
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, but what argument can I make in defense of such a poor leader?

Time for an adventure?

December 13, 2019
Q. Did you ever take some time away from the job, or between jobs, to embark upon a personal quest of some sort? I’m pondering how a truly epic journey might change my life (even if it hurts my career).