being the boss

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

is it time to put my employee on a formal improvement plan?

A reader writes: I inherited an employee who was never held accountable by his previous manager (for example, he completed a major web software overhaul nine months past the deadline with no consequences). As a result, I’ve been vigilant about giving him feedback every time he doesn’t do something he says he’s going to do […]

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my new employee fell asleep in a meeting

A reader writes: I have a new employee who started this week. So far she seems great. But we were just in a kind of boring but important meeting with internal colleagues and she kept nodding off to sleep. She was trying to fight it, but it happened multiple times. Is this something I should […]

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my intern is refusing assignments because of her politics

A reader writes: I run a large museum, and we are currently running a major special exhibition. We’ve been asked to give a private tour of this exhibition to a prominent and controversial political figure. I have a summer intern and have offered to let her come along as an observer. This kind of inclusion […]

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my employee keeps challenging my expertise

A reader writes: I’m a manager at a small advertising start-up that has a very open and transparent culture. I actively encourage my team to challenge and disagree with me, but I’m having issues with one of them doing so in a way that I perceive as disrespectful. He frequently disagrees with me, which is […]

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my employee keeps flipping from great to terrible

A reader writes: I have a direct report who was at one time my star performer and was on track for leadership. She had some challenges in her personal life over a couple years, and over time her performance slipped until it became a problem. Accuracy errors, chronic lateness, and a general negative attitude that […]

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my intern is way too passive

A reader writes: I am currently supervising an intern, Lauren, who is completing a postgrad professional degree in my field. The placement with my organization is a mandatory part of her course, and she is here to learn high-level skills with an emphasis on critical thinking and creativity. My field is one that most people […]

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