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Marie McIntyre, Ph. D, Your Office Coach

Question: What kind of touching is considered “inappropriate” at work? I don’t mean sexual contact, but simply an occasional pat on the arm or a hand on someone’s back. One of our managers, who is naturally gregarious, received a formal complaint about this kind of touching. The complaining person never said before that she was offended, so how was he to know? My own management style has been described as warm and “touchy-feely.” Should I start being more careful? — Concerned

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Question: What kind of touching is considered “inappropriate” at work? I don’t mean sexual contact, but simply an occasional pat on the arm or a hand on someone’s back. One of our managers, who is naturally gregarious, received a formal complaint about this kind of touching. The complaining person never said before that she was offended, so how was he to know? My own management style has been described as warm and “touchy-feely.” Should I start being more careful? — Concerned

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Q: “Our new CEO is very vindictive. He has ‘spies’ who feed him stories about employees that he doesn’t like. He fires people based on fabricated information, then displays his power by having security accompany them off the premises. I recently met with him to explain how this is hurting the business. I had data to prove that customer satisfaction and employee turnover have gotten worse since he arrived. But the CEO placed me on final warning for insubordination. For the next year, I can be immediately terminated for any additional offense. How do I establish a safe relationship with this man? — A Dedicated Manager

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Q: “Our new CEO is very vindictive. He has ‘spies’ who feed him stories about employees that he doesn’t like. He fires people based on fabricated information, then displays his power by having security accompany them off the premises. I recently met with him to explain how this is hurting the business. I had data to prove that customer satisfaction and employee turnover have gotten worse since he arrived. But the CEO placed me on final warning for insubordination. For the next year, I can be immediately terminated for any additional offense. How do I establish a safe relationship with this man? — A Dedicated Manager

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Question: “I manage the gift shop at a beautiful, historic winery. Although this is a wonderful place to work, we do encounter customers with a variety of challenging personalities. I have several employees who complain about how stupid customers are and what dumb questions they ask. Since we don’t work in a bubble, I’m sure customers sometimes overhear these comments. I’ve tried asking everyone to be more positive, but negativity spreads like a disease. How do I stop this catty chatter?” — Frustrated in Wisconsin

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Question: “I manage the gift shop at a beautiful, historic winery. Although this is a wonderful place to work, we do encounter customers with a variety of challenging personalities. I have several employees who complain about how stupid customers are and what dumb questions they ask. Since we don’t work in a bubble, I’m sure customers sometimes overhear these comments. I’ve tried asking everyone to be more positive, but negativity spreads like a disease. How do I stop this catty chatter?” — Frustrated in Wisconsin

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Question: I can’t seem to get promoted, even though I am well-qualified. My performance evaluations are excellent, and I have received numerous awards. The company posts promotional opportunities so that anyone can apply, but the “winning” applicant always seems to have been selected in advance. Obviously, politics plays a great part in these selections, and I am not a political person. I do interact with people, but I just don’t do it with an agenda in mind. How can I get ahead? —  No Way Out

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Question: I can’t seem to get promoted, even though I am well-qualified. My performance evaluations are excellent, and I have received numerous awards. The company posts promotional opportunities so that anyone can apply, but the “winning” applicant always seems to have been selected in advance. Obviously, politics plays a great part in these selections, and I am not a political person. I do interact with people, but I just don’t do it with an agenda in mind. How can I get ahead? —  No Way Out

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Question: “One of our co-workers, “Bob,” regularly comes in quite late. Until he gets here, the rest of us have to answer his phone and deal with callers’ problems. Bob is taking advantage of a nice boss who is not a micromanager. Our boss knows that Bob is usually late, but he hasn’t said anything to him. What should we do?” — Tired of Bob

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Question: “One of our co-workers, “Bob,” regularly comes in quite late. Until he gets here, the rest of us have to answer his phone and deal with callers’ problems. Bob is taking advantage of a nice boss who is not a micromanager. Our boss knows that Bob is usually late, but he hasn’t said anything to him. What should we do?” — Tired of Bob

 

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