being the boss

what to buy your employees for the holidays

My inbox fills up at this time of year with questions about holiday gifts at work: Are you supposed to get your boss a gift? What about your employees? What gifts are appropriate, and how much should you spend? Should you really have to chip in to send your CEO and his family on a […]

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my employees keep changing their schedules at the last minute

A reader writes: What is a reasonable policy for approving last-minute schedule changes or days off? I’m new to management and have a team of six. So far I’ve approved last-minute schedule changes because I understand that life happens. However, I think that I’ve been too relaxed. I had about 14 last-minute requests over the […]

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my boss’s boss asked me a fantastic question

A reader writes: I wanted to share this amazing question I got from my boss’ boss not too long ago because it stopped me in my tracks, it was so good and helpful. Setting the scene: My boss Perfuma was enjoying some much-deserved time off for a few days, and we ran into a tricky […]

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I can’t fire a terrible employee

A reader writes: I’m the manager at a growing professional services firm. I’m in charge of a lot of things, but the company owners have the final say in hiring or firing, and I’m stuck in a situation where the owners won’t fire a terrible employee. Bad Fit was hired for a position that it […]

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two of my employees are harassing their disabled coworker

A reader writes: I manage a small digital marketing firm. The owner is usually in the background doing the “big stuff” like networking and bringing in sponsors or big clients, I do almost all the hiring, and we use a virtual assistant HR company that tends to just forward me complaint emails (a separate issue). […]

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I think my employee is overpaid

A reader writes: I have an employee who is overpaid for her position. I inherited this employee from a former manager who hired her two years ago. Our business revenue has declined dramatically in the past 12 months, and I know I could hire someone to do the same job for about $20,000 less per […]

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how to address a problem you hear about secondhand

A reader writes: I have had a number of members of my team come to me lately with concerns about another employee, Jane. They say she takes long breaks, leaves early (she’s got a job where she needs to be in the office at set times), and spends too much time socializing. This came as […]

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my frustrated employee is unlikely to advance

A reader writes: I have a direct report, Jill, who has been on my team for a few years now. When I started out as manager for the team, we had an initial one-on-one partially to get a sense of where she saw her career going. (We had worked in the same department before, but […]

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