being the boss

my boss says I’m an “unapproachable” manager

A reader writes: I’m a fairly new manager, in this role for a little less than a year. A few months ago, I got some feedback from my boss that I’m being perceived as “unapproachable.” I’ve been hearing this my whole life, since middle school, although different words have been used (“stuck up,” “quiet,” “aloof”). […]

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my freelancers don’t turn in work on time

A reader writes: I manage 15-20 part-time, remote freelancers. Let’s say our end-client sells access to a recipe database; my job is to find great recipe writers, teach them how to develop recipes according to our house standards, and then get them creating recipes for us on a regular basis. Once a recipe is submitted, […]

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I think my assistant would be better at my job than I am

A reader writes: I am the director for a semi-independent branch office (about 100 people) of a larger company. It’s a pretty traditional, conservative company, and it believes in promoting from within, and many people here stay many years. I’ve been here 15 years. I was promoted to run this department three years ago. I […]

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my new employee keeps complaining about missing her kids

A reader writes: I have a staff member who I hired recently, and she’s been out of the workforce for five or so years while she was a stay-at-home parent. I have been conscious of the adjustment for her being back in an office, and overall she’s been quite enthusiastic about working again. The problem […]

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our employee lied about having a sick child

A reader writes: I’ve worked for a company for a little over 10 years. “Lysa” started soon after me. We work in a semi-small and close department, and about a year after she started she ran into a streak of bad luck. Her husband asked for a divorce and she found out her young daughter […]

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my employee says I can’t stop her from leaving work early

A reader writes: I’m a new manager at a company. The office manager, who is salaried, is continually leaving early by 30-40 minutes a day and leaves at 2 on Fridays. It’s making the owner crazy. I’ve told her that although she is salaried, that salary is based on a 40-hour work week. Her response […]

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my employee doesn’t work enough hours

A reader writes: I supervise a very good employee. She is exempt and full-time. She is very efficient, but she rarely puts a full day in at the office. I haven’t had a problem with this because of her efficiency, and I don’t think hours worked is as important as productivity. Lately she has been […]

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how can I get a management job without management experience?

A reader writes: I am about six years into a career that puts the “individual” in individual contributor (nonprofit fundraising, in case it matters). I have good relations with my colleagues and we work collaboratively when possible, but our projects are completely solo. I have always known that I want to spend my career in […]

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someone gave me a terrible review on Glassdoor

A reader writes: I work for a tiny company and manage a team eight people in a niche industry. There is fair amount of turnover, generally by design – people often take this job with the explicit goal of going to a particular grad school in a few years. I recently learned that someone left […]

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