fast answer Friday: 7 short answers to 7 short questions

It’s fast answer Friday — seven short answers to seven short questions. We’ve got gossipy secretaries, a boss in another time zone, and more. Here we go…

1. Should I ask for another interview to refresh this slow-moving company’s memory of me?

I was interviewed for a position on February 24 and was just informed that they are interviewing an additional candidate on March 21. That is a whole month between interviews. Should I ask their HR department whether I should receive a follow-up interview to refresh their memories of my qualifications or should I just take it at face value and hope that I stood out? Or is there more to this than I think?

Don’t ask for another interview. If they felt they needed one, they’d ask for one, but it’d be an odd thing for you to suggest. In the world of hiring, a month isn’t long at all — it’s the equivalent of 10 days in normal-world time.

2. Time zone difference with boss

My boss and I are in different time zones (west coast versus east coast) and more and more often he will set up meetings (conference calls) for later in the evenings. It seems like every week for the past few weeks I’ve had at least 1 day a week where I’ve had a meeting until 6:30 or 7pm. Working staggered hours to accomodate this is a problem because I have to also interact with coworkers in the local office during regular business hours. How do I nicely get him to respect my schedule and to stop scheduling meetings when I should be eating dinner with my family? How do I tactfully bring this up?

Just be straightforward: “Is it possible to try to set our meetings for slightly earlier because of the time zone difference?” That said, being at work until 6:30 or 7 isn’t that unusual in many industries, particularly when it’s only once a week. It’s still worth asking, but because this isn’t keeping you that late, his scheduling needs will trump yours. It would be different if he was scheduling calls for 10 p.m. your time.

3. Managing a difficult employee

I hired a new employee one year ago who displays extreme mood swings, and has actually been put on probation after an incident where she angrily rolled her eyes and shook her head negatively after a simple request- and then ignored the request to spite me. I nearly fired her but my HR department would not let me as she had not had any prior issues. She is generally unapproachable and very irritable. She cannot take criticism either — every time I try to address an issue with her, whether it’s for attitude or work issues, she either completely loses control and starts crying or gets extremely angry to the point of me not wanting to be alone with her. I’m really to the point where I feel like I’m walking on eggshells if she’s in one of her bad mood phases (that can last weeks). HR won’t let me fire her unless she makes a major mistake in her work or if she just totally flies off the handle again, but she’s on probation so she’s keeping it together JUST enough to not get fired for her unapproachable attitude. I just feel exhausted trying to deal with her and don’t know how to handle this anymore.

First, you have a bad HR department if they’re standing in your way on this. HR shouldn’t be overruling a manager in a situation like this, and if you have a good relationship with anyone over HR, I’d be complaining to them about this.

In any case, that aside, redefine the job to include the behaviors that you need this employee to display. For instance, I’d define part of the job requirements as having a pleasant office demeanor, the ability to work well with others, handling new work requests with a can-do attitude, being able to receive constructive feedback calmly, and so forth. Then you can measure her performance against those standards, and build a case that she’s not meeting the job requirements, which should hopefully satisfy your ridiculous HR people. If not, get the hell out of there because being told to manage people without the authority to actually impose consequences is an impossible situation.

4. Explaining past mistakes in an internal interview

I have an interview with my current employer for a promotion. I’ve been told that they know I can do the job but there are concerns with past actions that can impact our dept negatively, like not replying to emails or messages right away leading to complaints. How can I explain in my interview what I’ve done or am willing to do to improve?

I asked this letter-writer what her honest answer to that question would be. She replied, “I take these concerns seriously and after it was brought up, I took steps to document all phone messages and ensure I returned them. I also tried to answer emails immediately so that I would not allow myself to delay responses. I found that once there was a change in caseload and my hours, my work was affected. I want to reply with a honest but positive tone but can’t put the words together.”

I’d actually say it exactly how you said it here. That said, depending on how unresponsive you were being earlier, be aware that this type of issue can be a serious obstacle — as a hiring manager, I’d be concerned that you needed to be told to get back to people faster (rather than just getting its importance on your own), and I’d worry that there were other things that you weren’t approaching with a sufficient sense of urgency too. So you’re going to have to find ways to demonstrate that you’re fully on top of things, take initiative, are organized, and so forth.

5. Withdrawing from an interview process

I recently applied for a job and after the interview (2 days ago), I was no longer that interested in the position. Should I tell them now and if so, how? Or should I wait to see if they make an offer if I’m 80% sure I will decline it?

Well, if you’re only 80% sure you’d decline it, you shouldn’t withdraw from the process at this stage. If you get an offer, you can decide what to do then. If you were 100% sure that you’d turn down any offer, then I’d say to let them know that you’ve decided the position isn’t the right fit, but it doesn’t sound like that’s the case.

6. Employer wants to “keep in touch” with me

After 5 interviews with a firm over the course of a month and a half, I received an email from the managing director saying that, while they were very impressed with my skills and academic/professional background, they wanted to sort out one or two short-term issues, as well as ensure success on a contract bid before they could commit to extending an offer. She said, however, that she would “sincerely like to keep in touch with me” regarding employment with the firm. I replied by thanking her/them and emphasizing my continued interest.

It has been 3 weeks since the last communication. At what point, if any, should I reach out to them to see if they are drawing closer to the stage where we could resume negotiations? Should I email them after a full month? At no point did she give me a time frame as to when this might be. Should I assume that they will reach out to me, or should I remain periodically proactive and contact them every so often? I also feel that emailing them expressing continued interest in a position after a month and beyond demonstrates that I have not been grabbed by another firm, making me look like a weaker candidate.

I’d send her an email telling her that you continue to be interesting in working with them, and say that you’d love to check back in when it’s closer to the time when they’ll be moving forward again, and ask if she can suggest a timeframe for reaching back out.

7. Distancing myself from gossipy secretaries

I recently started a new temporary job that has the potential to shape the rest of my career, so I want to make a great impression and do good work here, but I also want to distance myself from the mildly toxic work environment the secretaries are perpetuating. The secretaries have been really nice and helpful to me, though I have noticed that some of them tend to get extra gossipy or unusually upset when someone makes a small mistake. They even hold grudges for what I would categorize as far too long for any given offense. It is to the point that afraid that when I screw something up (inevitable as a newcomer), no matter how small, that I’ll be put on their black list and gossiped about, regardless of who is in the room. There’s probably nothing I can do about this part, but I still want to distance myself from the gossiping situations that do not involve me. I occasionally share office space with them and I firmly believe that befriending the secretaries is very important to being able to get the information you need to do your work effectively. Do you have any advice for how I can politely dismiss myself from the gossiping and grudge-holding in a way that won’t alienate my colleagues?

Just don’t take part. Be ceaselessly cheerful and polite, but don’t get sucked into gossipy or toxic conversations. If someone makes a nasty comment to you about someone else, say something like, “Really? Jane seems really great” and then change the subject. If you’re nice in general, they probably won’t hold your refusal to gossip against you. Or, if they’re really over the top, maybe they will — but you can’t control that if so.

{ 46 comments… read them below }

    1. M-C*

      Should totally be doing that. Just forward your office phone to your cell or your home phone, and leave work well in time to be ready to pick up when the boss calls. That’s all, no further explanation or apology needed, and no nagging..

  1. Malissa*

    #3 It sounds like there’s a health or mental heath issue involved with this employee. Could that be reason HR is so reluctant to let you fire her? Otherwise I’d ask HR specifically what has to be done to get rid this person. She’s got to draining the energy out of the rest of the office.

    1. Ali Mc*

      100% agree. Sounds like borderline personality to me. I’d do what AAM said and get her outta there. She’s acting like a child!

  2. Ali Mc*

    I only want to comment on #6 – and maybe ask the person, are they utilizing any of your talents currently? ie: maybe they ask you to come and volunteer your time? I had this happen to me where I (IMO) displayed too much enthusiasm in a job interview and the Manager kept telling me she wasn’t hiring at the moment but they’d “keep me in mind” – Anytime she needed someone at a trade show or whatnot I’d be called and asked for volunteer work. I obviously said yes because I wanted to show I was really interested in working for the company, however no job ever transpired as a result and after the third event I told her I was just going to look elsewhere.

    So just be careful you aren’t being used. Maybe my naiveness got the better of me, but I really wanted the job.

  3. K*

    #6 if you really want to keep in touch with this employer, I would suggest that when you do drop her a line that you invite her out for coffee if your schedule permits. It gives you a small window of conversation to get the full scoop on her situation and reaffirm everything that would be awesome about having you around. Even if you can’t find a time, I feel like it is less “desperate”-feeling. As though, “I really want to chat with you regardless, because I value you as a professional relationship” and less “I really want to know how that job is coming”.

    1. Wilton Businessman*

      Yeah, I would use the old coffee trick. It’s informal, she’s not committing anything, but you still stay in the loop. I don’t know how many times you can do this before it becomes creepy, you’ll have to feel it out.

  4. Anonymous*

    #3 I’m with AAM. Define the job expectations clearly, simply, and without any emotion on your part. You are in charge of your own emotions, not hers, so no matter how she reacts, that’s beyond your control. Let her own that, you own the task list. Then document each task given and the result.

    I get what you are dealing with, but an “eye roll” is just not a big deal. Thick skin and all that.

    1. A Bug!*

      An eye-roll is a big deal – it’s rude and completely uncalled-for. An eye-roll is not just a brusque personality being mistaken for rudeness, but is actively disrespectful of the person making the request. No manager should have to tolerate explicit disrespect, thick skin or no.

      1. nonvolleyball*

        especially if the eye-roller then refuses to the work in question! I’d be a little more lenient for some snappishness when the initial request is made (we all have bad days, although it’s still inappropriate)–but the subsequent failure to follow-through is where it really crosses a line.

        1. jmkenrick*

          If she eye rolls with the manager, she probably eye rolls with other departments and maybe even clients.

          Even if she was getting all the work done, an employee with an attitude like that will make it harder for her department to build good relationships with other departments, vendors and clients. Rightly or wrongly, those weak relationships will easeir to break with them, or prioritize their work lower, or not offer new opportunties.

          Work isnt’ all numbers -the interpersonal stuff matters a lot too.

          1. A Bug!*

            On top of all of those valid concerns, if expressions of disrespect are allowed to happen without comment, then it sets the stage for the erosion of the manager’s authority, both with that particular employee and any others who witness it.

            It doesn’t have to be addressed harshly, but it should be noted immediately so that the employee and anyone watching knows it hasn’t gone unnoticed. A simple “Is everything okay?” will gently put the employee on notice about the behaviour, and if everything’s not okay it’s an invite to come speak with you about it.

            The bonus to this is that an inquiry like that is less likely to embarrass the employee and put her on the defensive, because it implies that the behaviour’s out of character, that she’s not doing it on purpose, and it offers concern for the employee instead of chastisement. Even if you 100% believe the employee’s just a rude dude, it doesn’t hurt to first approach it from the angle that gives the best benefit of the doubt.

            1. jmkenrick*

              I really like that strategy – I think too often we’re partial to react to disrespect with accusations, when we may be better off reacting with concern.

              In the long run, it makes you look a lot better anyways.

            2. Sarah G*

              As others below mention, this is clearly a mental health issue, probably bipolar and/or borderline personality. Like “A Bug” says, there is no reason not to approach this employee with concern. It sounds like she must be in emotional hell to be behaving this way. I’m not saying this makes it okay, and she’s creating some hell around her too, which of course can’t be tolerated regardless. But the OP doesn’t indicate that she’s told the employee her job is in danger if her behavior doesn’t change. I also was going to mention the possibility of EAP, as others have. I suggest the OP express to the employee her concern that employee’s job is at risk if something doesn’t change, and tell her what exactly needs to change. Ask what you (OP) can do as her manager to help her or support her in changing these things. Ask if she’s dealing with any extenuating circumstances you should know about. Offer up the EAP program if you have one.
              The employee’s behaviors might continue exactly as before, and you can document them and eventually fire her, but try to help her first! A little compassion can be the oasis someone needs to find strength to seek help, and treatment for mental illness can be very effective!
              BTW, do NOT mention to the employee or HR any possibility of mental illness. Way too risky from a legal standpoint. But you can definitely express concern, ask her how you can help as her manager in making the needed changes, and make sure she knows about an EAP if applicable.

      2. Long Time Admin*

        I learned to close my eyes before doing the eye-roll, and to fake a sneeze or a cough to cover up the unavoidable facial expression that goes with the eye-roll.

        It’s never acceptable, however, to refuse to do the work assigned (unless it’s illegal). That’s called insuborindation, and it’s a firing offense in many companies.

        1. NicoleW*

          If it was just the eye-rolling or perceived negative attitude, I would urge the manager to have a chat with the employee first. I sometimes have the problem of my boss or even my spouse thinking I’m annoyed about something, when really I wasn’t thinking that at all. Maybe I’m hard to read or have a serious face in meetings (or at home!) sometimes.

          Since it sounds like multiple instances of extreme negative mood, combined with lack of follow-through, this needs more serious attention, like AAM has outlined.

    2. fposte*

      How an employee reacts may be beyond my control, but I do have control over identifying what behavior I expect and considering staff problematic for failing to adhere to that standard. In other words, I absolutely can do something about eyerolling,

      (I will note that eyerolling is like swearing, in that eyerolling and swearing *about* is very different from eyerolling and swearing *at*. But this sounds like eyerolling at. Not acceptable.)

  5. Anonymous*

    RE #7: AAM’s advice is spot on. Keep it light and stay busy with the actual work. Being new, you can easily change the subject as a way to learn about the job. If someone complains about how another person performed a task, you can ask, with a wide-eyed look, about how it should have been done. (“Oh, good to know how to do X the right way!”) It’s actually kind of fun to find ways to deflect the negativity.

    1. JessB*

      I totally agree with this! I’m a temp as well, and have been since late 2009. I’m really good at what I do, and I think part of the reason I keep getting work, and even get requested again at the same places is my attitude. I’m a positive person, and I try to steer clear of negative people who behave the way the OP describes her colleagues.

      OP, keep your chin up and stay positive. Good luck.

  6. MillenniMedia*

    #3 – Playing devil’s advocate but is there a possibility you’re also overreacting to the situation? The tone of your message is quite emotional. I agree that an eye roll is very disrespectful and you were absolutely right to call her on it, but if you hired her a *year* ago and she’s had attitude issues from the beginning, why was she not counseled much earlier in the process or released within her probationary period? Are other people in the company having similar issues with her attitude?

    Just wondering if HR might be holding back from firing because the behavior isn’t as egregious as you perceive it to be…and even if it is that bad they might be wondering why you haven’t been documenting/counseling all along. I have yet to work with an HR department that doesn’t require an immense amount of documentation in order to fire someone.

    1. Joey*

      #3 I was about to say something similar. I’ve seen a lot of managers who let problems fester forever and then bitch when HR tells them the one time they’ve decide to hold the person accountable isnt enough to justify termination. Besides part of their job is to make sure firings are somewhat consistent with each other. In other words if there are other employees who haven’t been fired for the same type of behavior that’s a problem. The best way to handle this type of employee is to be crystal clear about expectations and ask HR for some guidance when she screws up. They’ll help you determine the appropriate consequences although you should have a pretty strong say in what happens. The other thing I would suggest is to make sure you’re communicating clearly what are actually the major problems and why and what are less so.

  7. Sean*

    #3 almost sounds like a case of someone who is bipolar or borderline personality disorder. Obviously you can’t talk to this employee and tell them to see a psychologist, but perhaps speak with HR about this. Unfortunately I really don’t know what can actually be done though…

    1. Joey*

      Don’t do this. In fact don’t ever attempt to diagnose mental issues because you are not a doctor (I assume youre not). It can quickly get you in trouble and an employee gains the protections of the ADA if you even perceive there’s any type of disability. Deal with the behavior at hand and leave the diagnosing to the medical professionals.

      1. Anonymous*

        Yes! This!

        People need to stop assuming that everyone they encounter with a bad attitude has a mental illness.

      2. Anonymous*

        You could make sure that ALL employees are aware of services available under your EAP, if you have one.

        1. Employment Specialist*

          I am an Employment Specialist and to address #3 problem, there are in fact hundreds of thousands of individuals living with a mental illness and yes a doctor does the diagnosing but anyone can obtain a copy of the DSM IV book and research symptoms, which is what we in my field all do. Anyway, I provide support to individuals who seek employment and they have the choice to disclose or to not disclose to their employer any mental health issues they may have. We assist them with managing systems, dealing with the demands of employment and how their diagnosis can effect the relationships they develop inside the work environment. Direction such person to EAP is an excellent idea itf no such supports are already in place. Lastly, if this is the case this person is doing this behavior to be rude and it can be difficult for others to understand.

  8. Wilton Businessman*

    #1. No
    #2. sometimes daddy has to work late.
    #3. your HR department is doing you no favors. You’ve got to get your boss on board too in order to get that whack job out.
    #4. I agree, your response is perfectly appropriate. Any more and it would be defensive, any less and it would sound whiny.
    #5. you might be worried about nothing, you don’t even have the job yet. I would bring up my concerns if an offer is made and then decide.
    #6. see coffee above
    #7. you do your job to the best of your ability. if you need their help and they’re not willing to help, find another way.

    1. simple simon*

      #2 – No. As a single parent I have found this situation to be absolutely untenable. It drives me crazy when people think that I should have to get a babysitter so that I can be in meetings when I signed up for a job that was stated as 9-5. From 5:30-8PM everyday I have to parent. After 8 I am ok to jump back into work, but my parenting hours are limited – I need thm.

      When offices have expectations like this they are setting up an impossible situation for parents. And it is not conducive to a healthy life/work balance.

      1. M-C*

        I really resent when parents think that the responsibilities that they (should) have undertaken fully voluntarily mean that they get to take off ‘on time’, while we poor childless slobs stay late to take up the slack. Single people need a life outside work too, you know, just as much.

        I’ve never had a job that HR didn’t say was 9-5, and that was. Wake up to reality. If you really need those hours, you should be aware that you are limiting the jobs available to you. But mostly you should be negotiating that up front from the initial interview, and not springing it later on an unwitting employer. But you may be able to negotiate coming in earlier, or staying later, to accomodate your other schedules?

        1. NicoleW*

          I don’t think she was asking for special consideration because she’s a parent. But is pointing out her personal example of why unpredictable work hours can be a problem. It’s a work-life balance thing for everyone. I need to leave on time because my husband is out of town so I am picking up from daycare. My coworker has to leave on time because she needs to get to her second job. Another coworker can’t work too late regularly because the bus stops running to the suburbs. Of course we all put in some extra time or bring work home – but there’s a point for everyone where it’s too much and there is no balance anymore.

  9. EngineerGirl*

    I was once branded the “difficult employee” in #3.
    1) I was forced to work 70 hour weeks for 5 years straight and was physically exhausted. You lose perspective & control in that state.
    2) I was being pressured to falsify test data on something that would protect people’s lives.
    3) I was being threatened / bullied on a daily basis. Every thing I did became an “infraction” – including being reprimanded for walking too loudly (I kid you not).
    4) I was being actively stripped of resources to do my job so I would fail.

    My manager labeled me the problem employee. I’m wondering if the OP manager is telling us ALL of it? Why did you hire a problem? At a minimum you should have talked to the employee and tried to find out what is behind the behavior. Yet there is no indication from the letter that you did that. Something smells Very funny here…

    1. Tater B.*

      This, 1,000 percent!

      I’d say more, but my opinion is very one-sided. I’became the “eye-roller” after four months of being micromanaged past my breaking point.

      1. Esra*

        I eyerolled once, a few months into working under an extreme micromanager. I was able to turn it around eventually, but man those first few months are hard.

        It’s really difficult to be professional and upbeat when you’re working under someone who acts like an emotional child.

    2. ChristineH*

      “including being reprimanded for walking too loudly (I kid you not).”

      Oh your employer would hate me then ;)

      Hope you were able to get out of that situations….sounds extremely toxic.

      1. EngineerGirl*

        It took a former manager and director, but yes I got out while my manager was trying to have me fired for “mental issues”. In my new job (just like all the other previous ones) I recieved incredible performance reviews and am still doing very well. The other boss and job… well… lets just say they had major failures for years after I left. Hmmm. maybe it wasn’t me. I guess that is why I question the OP #3. It just doesn’t sound right. You don’t hire people with problems like that, and you don’t keep them on during probation. So why is this now a sudden issue with no explaination to go with it. It just doesn’t make sense.

        1. Anonymous*

          My employer doesn’t have a probationary period. Employment is at will, so people can be let go at any time, ad so personnel says they don’t need to impose a probationary period.

          With some managers, this has led to sloppiness about correcting inappropriate behavior and also failure to document early in the process, which HR wants even if state law doesn’t require it (HR wants it to fight unemployment claims).

          I do think it is easy for a manager (who is inappropriately optimistic) to think the person will change as they settle in, only to discover they haven’t. Managers should know better, but some of them behave like this was a dating situation, and keep hoping the new boyfriend or girlfriend will change and be the person they thought they were.

          All that aside, I wondered if the OP was dealing with Civil Service HR. I’ve heard some horror stories about trying to get rid of government employees, particularly at the federal level, where HR seems to be totally unconnected with the real world.

      2. Camellia*

        I once had a co-worker that was given a negative review by our manager because of ‘body language’. She didn’t seem to behave any differently that the rest of the team so the only reason we could come up with for this was that, since she was 6 feet 3 inches tall in her pumps and was therefore taller than he was, it made him uncomfortable.

        1. Long Time Admin*


          Also, if a woman is really pretty, she’s a target for bullying and abuse. (No, not me [I’m not delusional], but a younger co-worker who could have been a beauty contest winner, but was actually an educated and skilled professional.)

  10. Jo*

    #3. Something about what you’ve written makes me wonder if you should engage in some self reflection before proceeding. Do you have an active dislike for this employee, if so are you still treating them fairly? Are the tasks you ask them to perform the same as you would ask of an employee you were getting on well with? Is HR being obstructive about this because you are the only one having a problem with the employee or they think you are contributing to the situation?

    Eye rolling is definately unacceptable, so follow AAM’s advice for sure, but just make sure you are applying the same expected standard of behaviour to yourself.

  11. Anonymous*

    Re: 3. Managing a difficult employee

    Are you sure that YOU aren’t the problem here? I’ve been on the end as an employee and had a micro-manager and just wasn’t nice to any of her staff. It made the work environment horrible and none of us wanted to be there.

    1. Ask a Manager* Post author

      I don’t see any reason to assume the OP is the problem. Even if she’s a micromanager, that’s no excuse for the behavior she describes the employee having.


    Re: 3. Managing a difficult employee

    Even if the poster has a little blame, I feel for them, because I do believe the worker is the issue. We have someone now who is very unapproachable with any feedback. Double-talk and excuses. Always calls another person in a similar position away to discuss our conversation. I guess the person wants sympathy, but doesn’t really try to fix the issues i keep raising (that cause delays in revenue).

    I see the “we can’t fire without a “real” cause” happening as well, especially since a few losses of a thousand dollars seem like a real cause to me. I also count the person’s coworker doing part of the work to cover it up as that person not doing their job. But upper management doesn’t have time to discuss what could have happen if that person didn’t cover for them.

  13. Long Time Admin*

    # 7 – Gossiping Secretaries.

    I’ve been a temp, and I’ve been a secretary. Many times for both. Here’s my suggestion: when you find out that you’ve made a mistake, ask one of the secretaries to help you learn the correct way to do what-ever-it-is. I would ask whoever seems to be the one the others listen to the most. It’s not sucking up or buying into the gossip chain – it’s getting help from people who (presumably) know how to do things right, and it’s also building a relationship with the secretaries.

    You’re 100% correct that making friends with the secretaries is a smart move. Also making friends with the custodians (or janitors) is a good move. These people always know what’s going on and they can be good friends to have. Just don’t get gossipy with them (I’m sure you always truthfully say, when things take that turn down the Gossip Freeway, “I have a ton of work to get done, so I’ll talk to you later”).

  14. Anonymouse*

    #3 – This is going to be tough because all trust between you has been broken. I’m not saying it’s definitely fixable, but it sounds like the energy in this relationship hasn’t been put to constructive use, yet.

    It’s going to take a lot more than one incident of “bad attitude” for HR to justify the time, expense, and risk in replacing this person. Especially if her work is good. You can’t ask HR to get rid of her until you can go in there with a compelling argument for why termination is in the best interest of the organization you work for.

    Turnover reflects quite poorly on managers and puts stress on the whole team. Have you considered what your boss will think of you if she fails and is fired? Since you say you hired this person, it’s going to look particularly bad for you if she loses her job (I’d be concerned if one of the managers under me chose the wrong people and then ran to HR demanding they be fired with one incident of what is challenging behavior). Nowhere in the job description of being a manager does it say “Must be skilled at managing easy employees who delight us all to no end, every single day.”

    So, you have a vested interest in making her a success, not just because it’s the decent thing to try, but because of your own reputation. Have you reached-out to any more experienced colleagues to get some advice and possibly help? This will work particularly well if you can identify another manager that she trusts/has a good relationship with. Get them on board with charting the way ahead. “Employees” jump in and help e/o out with their tasks; managers do the same thing. This is where you rely on the network of relationships you have built with your colleagues by being easy to work with!

    The EAP is there for you, too, BTW. It can help you with management problems. Good Luck!

    1. Ask a Manager* Post author

      Well, even the best manager will make a bad hire sometimes. It’s actually more important that they be willing to act assertively to fix it, because if they’re ashamed of letting people know that they hired badly, their team will be stuck with a problem and opportunity cost for much longer. The cost of not having the right person on board is much higher than the cost of replacing the person.

      Bad attitude is a serious problem, especially what was discussed here. She absolutely needs to talk with the person about the problems and explain that it could jeopardize her job before just trying to fire her one day, but attitude problems can be as damaging to an organization as skill-set problems. She does need to either get it fixed — quickly — or replace the employee.

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