being the boss

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

what consequences can managers enforce instead of firing someone?

A reader writes: I’m a new manager and I’m wondering about consequences. When an employee is not meeting expectations, you frequently mention that a manager should clearly explain the potential consequences if the issue is not fixed, up to and including letting the person go. What are those consequences prior to being fired? I’d like […]

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my employee bothers her coworker with constant questions

A reader writes: I manage two employees who share an office. Jane is a long-term employee and stellar worker. Katie is a new employee in an entry-level assistant role. Jane has been venting that Katie peppers her with many intrusive questions. For example: “Who was that on the phone?” … “What did you just print?” […]

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when an employee is too sick to call in sick

A reader writes: My employee, Matt, is in poor health. Over the years, he’s taken time off for many serious medical issues, and recently took a few months off for cancer treatment. He had medical clearance to return to work, but his health seems to be worse than ever and declining. Matt lives with his […]

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my new employee argues even when he’s wrong

A reader writes: I have a newly hired employee who is bright and creative. This role is a new one for him, and it requires him to interface with the same people regularly both internally and externally. He has a habit of arguing that he is right even when he is shown to be wrong […]

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employee only does well after I warn her about her work

A reader writes: I have a new hire who is several months in. She seems to only do well at her job and pay attention to detail when we have a conversation that she is on “notice” and things need to improve. Notice period ends — problems have resolved, and then a week later she’s […]

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I get angry when employees make mistakes

A reader writes: I’ve got a question regarding how much “mistake tolerance” is expected in the workplace. I have very low, almost zero, tolerance for mistakes. Whenever I see a mistake in anyone’s work, especially trivial ones, I will get very angry. The rationale in my head is always “We have one job and one […]

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my employee keeps fake quitting

A reader writes: I hired an employee less than 90 days ago. The team had not been fully staffed for several months and was happy to have him. A month after starting, he came into my office and started a meeting by saying, straight-faced, “I’ve been here a month, and I’ve decided to offer my […]

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