being the boss

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

our employee wants constant reassurance that he’s good enough

A reader writes: I’m a partner in a small firm. There are three partners working full-time, three additional full-time employees, and one part-time employee. We provide support and training for a niche software, so our workdays are heavily customer facing. The industry we support is also heavily customer-facing. All of us came out of the […]

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my former employee is badmouthing me to my staff

A reader writes: I recently hired an employee in a pinch because we thought he could fill a gap quickly and efficiently, but it turns out he was terrible and either dishonest or in denial about his own skills. He did not listen or follow instructions, and his customer service skills were awful. Many times, […]

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my business partners won’t fire their problematic family members

A reader writes: Our company has three partners: me, Lou (my husband), and Sarah (our best friend). Lou’s sister, Leah, and Sarah’s younger brother, Bobby, have worked here for over 10 years and basically feel untouchable and do as they please. Leah has made some effort to correct her actions and she primarily works with […]

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should I cut my new business partner loose?

A reader writes: I (F40s) recently added a business partner, Ivy (F30s), to my consulting business (I remain majority owner). I’m in a niche technical field and I was recently offered a role researching aspects of my field with an academic institution. The post is overseas up to 70% of my time, but private consulting […]

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how do I manage a bad employee who I can’t fire?

A reader writes: For the past 1.5 years, I’ve worked in health care in a very rural area where it is hard to recruit (this is more related to the rurality than to salaries and benefits; salary could be higher but is mid-range, and benefits are good to very good). Due to our service/population, in-person […]

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I think my employee is being abused by her partner

Content warning for discussion of abuse below. A reader writes: I have been a director at my organization for a few years now in a small town. We have a staff of 23. Some have been here for 20+ years, some are new, but it’s a pretty great group of people and we all work […]

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