being the boss

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

my employee’s mental health is affecting her work

A reader writes: My employee has been working with my team for nearly two years. She’s bright, friendly, willing to learn, and hard-working — when she’s well. We have a friendly relationship, and she has disclosed to me that she suffers from bipolar disorder. She has not asked for official accommodations, but she’s been taking […]

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my chatty employee is annoying his quieter coworker

A reader writes: I supervise a group of part-time workers doing what amounts to unskilled menial labor. One of the workers, Kent, is an older gentleman who has been doing this job for decades. He is known to be very chatty. Everyone kind of groans internally when they see him coming because they know they’re […]

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I’m biased against people who went to women’s colleges

A reader writes: I have a strong opinion about something that is making me biased as a manager. I am a woman and I dislike the idea of women’s colleges. I feel things people cannot help like age, race, disability, or sexual orientation are not the same as college choice. People pick where they go […]

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our new admin crashed the company car and lied about it

A reader writes: I’m sending this question on behalf of my husband, who owns a small business. He had a new admin manager/personal assistant, Pam, start about a month ago. So far she has been excellent — on the ball, great communicator, well organized, and liked by everyone in the company. She comes with lots […]

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my employee wants a demotion

A reader writes: My employee is a truly exceptional worker. Let’s say he’s a product builder, and about a year ago, he completed an advanced program in prototyping, which was great; we didn’t have a prototyper in the company, and it was a career path for him that offered some great possibilities. I went to […]

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my employee is obsessed with cleaning

A reader writes: One of my direct reports, Carol, is obsessed with cleaning, and I can’t get her to stop cleaning constantly. Carol loves cleaning, and she will talk about it non-stop. She just found a great new sponge that we should all start using. She can’t wait to receive this miracle fabric cleaner that […]

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my employee wastes too much time on bad ideas

A reader writes: I am a manager for a small but extremely busy office. I have one employee who is part-time and comes in only a few afternoons a week. She wastes a huge amount of time pontificating about every little detail about her job, always making suggestions of how things could be done better, […]

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my assistant thinks she’s my peer

A reader asks: My assistant does her work well. However, we’re similar in age, and I think that makes her speak much more candidly with me than she otherwise might. She borders on rude in conversations, especially if I correct her on anything or ask her to do something differently, and she asserts herself in […]

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