being the boss

can I ask my employees to be nicer?

A reader writes: I’m a new director at a medium-sized nonprofit that has gone through a hard year. There have been many staff changes in the past year, and I can tell that many within the organization are still struggling to negotiate these changes. Two supervisors who report to me are very unfriendly to me. […]

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my employee melts down when work is stressful

A reader writes: I manage an employee who is smart, attentive, and dedicated to the work she does. Overall, she’s amazing and has a strong work ethic, the kind of driven personality anyone would love to have on their team. Except for when she is stressed or feels pressure from difficult clients. Then all hell […]

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am I too generous with my employees?

A reader writes: I care about my employees. A lot. I pay people significantly higher than average salaries. They get treated to generous benefits, bonuses, random gifts, and I’ve even paid for employees’ honeymoons. Several times throughout the years when someone had a personal emergency, I gave them money – sometimes thousands of dollars. I […]

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how can I address my employee’s bad attitude?

A reader writes: I have to meet with a staff member who is generally good at her job but has become increasingly disrespectful and resistant to any direction. Her attitude makes it difficult for me to work with her, but every time I talk to her about anything she is so unpleasant about it and […]

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an employee is putting magic curses on her coworkers

I’m on vacation this week, so here’s a reprint of one of my favorite letters of all time. A reader writes: I’ve recently been contacted by a supervisor in our company who has heard that one of his subordinates has been regularly “cursing” both him and his daughter (who also works for our company). By […]

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is my employee trying to sabotage me?

A reader writes: I’m the founder of and sole manager at a small retail business with four full-time and a few part-time employees. My first hire was Mary, and I think of her as my second-in-command. She hasn’t been the easiest employee to manage: she’s a little flighty and forgetful, and not always as professional […]

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advice for first-time managers

Becoming a manager is one of the biggest and most stressful professional transitions that you’re likely to make in the course of your career. When you’re new to managing, it can be tough to realize that the skills that served you well up until this point aren’t necessarily the same ones that will make you […]

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