being the boss

when can managers expect employees to adjust to the “new normal”?

A reader writes: Your advice around the pandemic and expectations for managers has been extremely helpful. However, I am struggling with when it is reasonable for employers to expect employees to get closer to pre-coronavirus work outputs. It seems clear that we will not be going back to a “normal” work environment anytime soon, so […]

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my employees don’t like the way I coach them

A reader writes: I’m a fairly new manager of a small team and recently received some feedback from an employee that I don’t know what to do about. A previous employee had also given me the same feedback so I’m starting to see a pattern. When team members come to me with questions, I tend […]

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how can I tell an employee to mind his own business?

A reader writes: I have an employee who has great rapport with coworkers. Unfortunately, he makes everyone else’s business his business. He takes it upon himself to be the advocate or “cheerleader” for staff and their individual work-related issues that do not involve him. He takes time away during the day to rehash or discuss […]

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I’m a new CEO — how can I avoid criticizing my predecessor?

A reader writes: I joined an established nonprofit as CEO about 18 months ago. The former director was accomplished in many areas, giving the agency the appearance of success and stability (programs successful, but not so fiscally). After starting, I learned that the agency was not engaged in fundraising, and its methods for raising income […]

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my employee keeps interrupting me

A reader writes: We hired a new member of our team almost a year ago now, and her work product is fantastic. Unfortunately, she is constantly interrupting and correcting me, even when she isn’t correct about her correction. I’ve tried giving her the floor when that happens and just ignoring it, and also tried just […]

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my employee is strangely encouraging toward me

A reader writes: I have a newish direct report. He’s generally pretty good and is always supportive and encouraging towards his team, which is great. He’s also always encouraging and supportive towards people more senior to him, including me, which is getting less great. I hear a lot of, “That’s a really good idea, [myname]” […]

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my two employees don’t like each other

A reader writes: I’m a manager in a small, privately owned company. We do not have an HR department. I have two employees who just cannot get along. They are constantly coming to me to complain about one another over the most minor things. (Example: Sarah thinks Kate speaks too loudly on the phone.) If […]

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my employee cries whenever I give her feedback

A reader writes: One of the people I supervise is “Mary,” a woman in her early 20s. Every time she gets critical feedback (even very mild and accompanied by praise), she turns bright red and starts crying … like, a lot. Tears streaming down her face. Other than that, though, she responds calmly and rationally. […]

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I feel terrible about having to lay off my staff

A reader writes: I am the manager of a department in a nonprofit that is shut down for the foreseeable future, which means no reliable revenue stream apart from the generosity of donors right now. Every week, I’m getting asked to make more and more cuts to staffing and to pare down to the “essentials” […]

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