Marie McIntyre, Ph.D.

Question:  “I have been having problems with a female co-worker. “Kelly” and I have always had a friendly relationship, but now she’s avoiding me. Last week, I brought in doughnuts for everyone and also put flowers on Kelly’s desk with a card that said “Have a nice day.”  She immediately became standoffish, so I asked if everything was OK. Although she said there was no problem, she hasn’t been the same since. Kelly recently ended a long relationship, and I’ve heard it was a difficult breakup. I’ve also been told that she thinks I’m trying to “take a shot” at her. I’d like to talk privately and get everything out in the open, but I don’t think Kelly will allow it. What should I do?” — Just a Friend

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Question: “I recently left a very toxic workplace. I never again want to work in such a fearful, backbiting culture. Next time, how can I make sure that I’m entering a healthy work environment?  Should I ask to take a tour or interview some co-workers?” — Cautious

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Question:  “I recently hired an administrative assistant who makes a lot of mistakes. Two months ago, I told her that this was unacceptable and that she must be more vigilant about proofing her work.  Everything was fine for a few weeks, but then the errors started again. Yesterday, she mailed an important letter to the wrong address. I sign these letters, but I shouldn’t have to proofread them.  Now I feel that I have to review everything she does. I don’t trust her work, but I can’t afford to lose her. Any suggestions?” — Unhappy Boss

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Question:  “I recently hired an administrative assistant who makes a lot of mistakes. Two months ago, I told her that this was unacceptable and that she must be more vigilant about proofing her work.  Everything was fine for a few weeks, but then the errors started again. Yesterday, she mailed an important letter to the wrong address. I sign these letters, but I shouldn’t have to proofread them.  Now I feel that I have to review everything she does. I don’t trust her work, but I can’t afford to lose her. Any suggestions?” — Unhappy Boss

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Question: “Salespeople in our company receive no salary and are paid totally on commission. The owner has just announced that he is slashing our commission rate.  Because he wants to focus on getting new business, he also will be paying us almost nothing for serving established customers.  This gives us no incentive to service our existing accounts. The owner says this is necessary because the company is losing money. However, he hasn’t reduced expenses or cut the pay of any other employees, including himself. We have lost all respect for this man, and our morale is in the gutter.  He can obviously do whatever he wants, but why would he do this?” — Discouraged Salesman

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Question: “Salespeople in our company receive no salary and are paid totally on commission. The owner has just announced that he is slashing our commission rate.  Because he wants to focus on getting new business, he also will be paying us almost nothing for serving established customers.  This gives us no incentive to service our existing accounts. The owner says this is necessary because the company is losing money. However, he hasn’t reduced expenses or cut the pay of any other employees, including himself. We have lost all respect for this man, and our morale is in the gutter.  He can obviously do whatever he wants, but why would he do this?” — Discouraged Salesman

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Question: “Although I’m viewed positively at work, I believe my reserved demeanor is holding me back. I’m not shy, but I have trouble making small talk. In meetings, I give input whenever I’m asked, but seldom volunteer information … Can you suggest some communication strategies for meetings and social situations?”

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Question: “Although I’m viewed positively at work, I believe my reserved demeanor is holding me back. I’m not shy, but I have trouble making small talk. In meetings, I give input whenever I’m asked, but seldom volunteer information … Can you suggest some communication strategies for meetings and social situations?”

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Question: “Two weeks ago, I started a job with a new company. Although my manager initially seemed thrilled to have me on board, I now sense that I’m not living up to her expectations. However, I’m not sure exactly what those expectations are. My main problem is there isn’t much structure here.  Random projects are thrown at me by my boss and others. Work is dumped on my desk without explanation. I have no background in this business, so I’m not sure how to approach these tasks.  What can I do?” — Afraid of Failing

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Question: “Two weeks ago, I started a job with a new company. Although my manager initially seemed thrilled to have me on board, I now sense that I’m not living up to her expectations. However, I’m not sure exactly what those expectations are. My main problem is there isn’t much structure here.  Random projects are thrown at me by my boss and others. Work is dumped on my desk without explanation. I have no background in this business, so I’m not sure how to approach these tasks.  What can I do?” — Afraid of Failing

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