Ask "Z"

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?

Take a direct approach with ramblers

December 6, 2013
Q. I’ve found that people in general don’t know how to edit themselves when they speak. I’m tried of losing a minute here and a minute there listening to them belabor a point, overtell a story, or fail to stick to an issue. How do you get people to become more aware that they’re wasting their words and your time?

Seek set feedback, not vague critique

November 22, 2013
Q. My boss, the CEO, told me yesterday, “Be more nurturing of your team.” I replied, “What do you mean by ‘nurturing’?” This annoyed him and he stormed off. What did I do wrong?

Leave ‘dead fish’ alone

November 8, 2013
Q. I have one manager who’s like a dead fish. When I talk to him, he frequently makes no response. So I get annoyed and keep asking, “Got that?” He just grunts, but he winds up doing whatever I ask. How can I get him to speak?

Sometimes silence must trump the desire to lead

November 1, 2013
Q. I used to drink too much; still do at times. I have no intention of admitting that at work. An employee told me he’s going to Alcoholics Anonymous for his drinking. I want to lend my support. Should I share my past?

If it’s confidential, keep it that way

October 25, 2013
Q. I suspended an aide for an infraction. Some employees, including my friends, demanded the details. But I replied, “It’s confidential.” Now they’re annoyed at me. What gives?

Dealing with former peer syndrome

October 17, 2013
Q. I was recently promoted to vice president over some well-deserving peers. In my new position, I must work alongside these individuals on a variety of projects. Two of them are clearly envious of me, and as a result, they’re not very cooperative. What can I do to ensure their cooperation?

Being persistent is different from being pushy

October 10, 2013
Q. I’ve been told that my greatest strength is my determination, but my greatest liability is my limited tolerance for compromise. Any suggestions on hitting a good middle ground?

What’s wrong with being commander-in-chief?

October 4, 2013
Q. Why do we frown on business leaders who truly command?

Let them talk about their pay–it’s inevitable

September 27, 2013
Q. I manage highly paid engineers. I also manage support staff who earn minimum wage. The engineers often discuss their ritzy vacations and home remodeling projects. That makes the others jealous. How can I get these “rich folks” to stop bragging?