being the boss

do I apologize to my employees too often?

A reader writes: I’m a new manager at a company where I’ve worked for years. In trying to adjust to the role, I’m realizing that I’m the sort of person who says “sorry” a lot. I’m not always doing it to take the blame on myself; I’m often doing it because to show empathy and […]

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my assistant uses eating to avoid working

A reader writes: I am a new manager at a nonprofit and have just been assigned an entry-level administrative assistant who has been failing to make deadlines, has been repeating preventable mistakes, and has major issues with focusing at work. She tangled with her last manager because she felt attacked when asked to explain missed […]

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my employee has a bad attitude

A reader writes: I manage an employee with an attitude problem. Kevin is a couple years out of college, and he has management ambitions. He did excellent work for several months after he was hired, and the quality of his work isn’t the issue here. The problems started about a year ago when I promoted […]

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my employees keep going over my head

A reader writes: I supervise a small group of people, and was told recently that they don’t like me giving reminders or asking for updates (or, possibly, they don’t like how I do that). This isn’t the first mention of it, but apparently what I’ve tried to do differently hasn’t helped. My problem is, no […]

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how late can I call employees at home?

A reader writes: Is there a cut-off time that I as an employer can call an employee’s home or cell phone? I answer this question — and four others — over at Inc. today, where I’m revisiting letters that have been buried in the archives here from years ago (and sometimes updating/expanding my answers to […]

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my employee talks so much she can’t get her work done

A reader writes: I got my first job as a manager about five months ago. One of my employees, Jane, is a woman in her late 50s (I’m 30). She’s been with this organization for two years, but spent the rest of her working life in retail or as a stage manager for small theaters. […]

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my employee keeps missing emails

A reader writes: What’s a good response to an employee who said they “missed” an email you sent? I’ve already stressed the importance of reviewing all incoming mail and provided resources on organizing and managing your inbox. This has happened a few times now with negative business consequences (late payments) and I don’t want to […]

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managing an employee who’s often out sick

A reader writes: I have an employee who for the last six months has been out sick about 1-2 days a week on average, due to chronic illness. This is affecting performance, and others have had to shoulder a lot of the burden: missed deadlines, poor quality work, and an overall significant decrease in productivity. […]

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my employee is openly job searching at work

A reader writes: I am the team lead of a two-person admin team for a sales department. I am the supervisor of the second person, Jane, but not her manager; however, most critiques are expected to flow through me first unless there is a serious problem. Jane spends most of her time in our reception […]

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