Ask "Z"

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?

When to open the wallet

January 10, 2014
Q: “You have to spend money to make money” is still a phrase that I hear almost every day. Cutting through the cliché, does it really hold up to scrutiny?

Going over the top won’t paint the picture you want

January 3, 2014
Q: I sometimes think that it’s going to be take being truly demonstrative to motivate my staff—becoming fiery when things are tough and getting just as loud when celebrating our achievements. Is this sort of boisterousness worth what it might do to my image as a leader?

Too much passion = not enough happiness?

December 27, 2013
Q: You hear the word ‘passion’ thrown around a lot when people talk about careers. But is this really a necessary component to performing at a very high level?

Stuck in a rut? Plot your future

December 13, 2013
Q. I’m 50. My boss, a VP, just hired someone younger than me—and I report to this new hire. Three times over the last 2½ years, I’ve sought professional development advice from my boss. He always said, “That’s a deeper discussion. Let’s meet later.” Now I’m disappointed. Should I move on?