being the boss

my employee is too cavalier about mistakes

A reader writes: I manage a junior employee who sometimes does sloppy work or makes mistakes on work that I have given her. Lately when I point out these mistakes to her, her response to me is “Yeah, yeah, I know, sorry,” or “Is it really that big of a deal?” Generally pretty flippant reactions. […]

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is our intern just clueless and inexperienced — or a con artist?

A reader writes: I am a mid-level engineer at a small (70-80 employees) tech company. We frequently host undergrad interns from a local university. Some were during the summer, and some were during the school year. These were all paid, full-time internships that lasted for 12 weeks. The past interns all had a great attitude […]

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my employee wants constant praise and support

A reader writes: I’m struggling with how much of a cheerleader I need to be for my team. I am not a person who needs a lot of cheerleading myself. Give me my tasks, the tools I need to accomplish those tasks, and a “good job” when warranted – that’s all I need. However, one […]

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I can’t get the info I need from an employee who’s on leave

A reader writes: I have an employee, Jane, who’s abruptly taking leave to deal with some health and personal issues. We don’t know when (or if) she’s coming back, so we’re planning on going at least several months without her, and I’m trying to implement stopgap solutions. We’re small and Jane has a lot of […]

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is my team too much of a clique?

A reader asks: I’m writing this question based on feedback received from an exit interview. A woman in her mid-30’s left my department after a little over a year. When giving her notice, she commented that she was taking a job closer to home (she had an hour commute each way some days) and had […]

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can I send a male assistant to get me tampons?

A reader writes: I work as a lead “maker” in a very hands-on industry. Usually on jobs I’m hired by a client alongside an assistant of my choosing (who is also paid directly by the client). When I’m at the coalface, so to speak, the job is very engaged and my assistant’s job is to […]

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is it wrong to socialize with only one of my employees?

A reader writes: I manage a specialty niche team of four. Last year, I hired someone I knew from a previous job, let’s call her Mary, where we were at the same level, but now she reports to me. I am a happy hour aficionado and regularly host happy hours for my staff where they […]

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my employee’s work isn’t good — but he’s having a family crisis

A reader writes: I manage a junior level employee who started as an intern. “Bran” was fabulous, turning in high-level work quickly and consistently, which was why we asked him to stay on when his internship ended. However, over the past three months, the quality of his work has dipped significantly. We’ve had conversations about […]

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employee wants to bring a fired coworker to the holiday party

A reader writes: We recently fired an employee, Doug, after a series of serious errors. We gave him extensive training and retraining, verbal and written feedback, and multiple warnings. We even simplified his work and left him with only the most basic work assignments possible but, in the end, his mistakes angered multiple clients and […]

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my young employee keeps talking about her age and her parents

A reader writes: I supervise a very talented, younger employee. She has tremendous work skills and strong potential for growth. But she seems to lack a level of maturity that I feel is impacting her career. She often talks about her parents and even credits them for helping with her work. I want her to […]

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