being the boss

my employee didn’t check email for months

A reader writes: I am two years into taking the top job at a somewhat dysfunctional local government agency. I have an employee who has been here for 17 years and is mediocre in his performance. He does his job and does okay, but isn’t always a part of the team or as polite to […]

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my intern wears leggings as pants

A reader writes: I have taken on a very capable, intelligent intern for the semester in an academic setting. I did tell her before she started that she would need to dress business casual. Several times I have noted that she has arrived at work in skin-tight leggings and tops that do not cover bottoms […]

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my employees held a party without asking or involving me

A reader writes: My husband owns two companies and we are both very involved in the management of the businesses. The companies employ about 20 people. Company 1 invited all the employees in both businesses to a holiday party. This party was refused by all but one employee in company 2. Without any consideration, company […]

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how to give negative feedback in an open office

A reader writes: I work in an large open plan office. The open plan model is not entirely bad given the semi-collaborative nature of what we do, but I’m struggling with its implications for giving and receiving feedback. Our manager regularly walks around the office giving people feedback on their work. As we can’t use […]

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my employee wants too much time off for the holidays

A reader writes: Two of my employees are hourly graduate students who mostly work nights and weekends when our full-time employees do not. The position is pre-professional, meaning we treat them like any other professionals, while giving them coaching and help looking for full-time work in the field. We’re clear up-front that they are expected […]

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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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