being the boss

All your questions about being the boss, answered — like dealing with low performers, lateness, weird feedback, and more.

my intern is way too passive

A reader writes: I am currently supervising an intern, Lauren, who is completing a postgrad professional degree in my field. The placement with my organization is a mandatory part of her course, and she is here to learn high-level skills with an emphasis on critical thinking and creativity. My field is one that most people […]

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can an intern refuse to do menial office tasks?

A reader writes: I work at a company with the general rule that any work you don’t want to do can be delegated to an intern. (Our interns are all paid and students.) Interns often find themselves assigned random menial tasks, like reformatting a PDF for a manager who can’t be bothered. On the reverse […]

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managing a seriously ill employee who’s making mistakes

A reader writes: My team’s strongest performer is in the midst of a serious, life-changing health crisis, and this is causing issues with her usually stellar performance. Typically, she requires little to no oversight and exercises astute judgment. However, due to her stress during this time, she is failing to follow standard operating procedures, sending […]

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my entry-level employee gave me a bunch of off-base criticism

A reader writes: I have a junior staff person (who has been on my team less than two years) who recently took it upon themself to give me some “constructive criticism” about my management, none of which was relevant or constructive (I did consider it and discussed it with others, and they were all confused […]

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my employee can’t handle even mildly negative feedback

A reader writes: I’m a manager who recently hired a junior-level employee. I could tell she was sensitive during the interview, which was fine, but didn’t find out until she started working that she has awful, awful anxiety. I feel for her, but she’s struggling to get through her training without things like very mildly […]

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should I be so emotionally drained by managing?

A reader writes: I manage in a manufacturing environment, leading a team of about 40 headcount altogether. I love my job and my company, and most of the time my work feels rewarding. I work hard to be an effective coach, identify the needs of my team and help them to achieve success. Like anyone […]

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