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Q. I got into an argument with my manager over the best way to handle a dicey situation, and tempers flared a bit. The next day, I emailed him a half-hearted apology while joking that I still think I’m right. Now he’s madder than ever at me. What did I do wrong?

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Q. I have a co-worker who’s driving me crazy. He taunts me about my fast and accurate work (he’s error-prone), and he thinks I’m a “goody two-shoes.” I’ve tried to talk to him but he’s never going to let up. I guess I should talk to my supervisor, right?

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Q. My employee, Jane, has family in the military. They’re stationed in war zones. Jane’s performance is slipping—she’s just not herself. What can I do?

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Q. Why do we frown on business leaders who truly command?

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You never appreciate a good performer until you’ve fired a bad performer. That’s because bad performers take so much time and attention to manage. From the moment you sense that an employee isn’t working out—and you set in motion disciplinary steps—you have to imagine a judge and jury watching your every move. That way, you can stand behind your actions without feeling embarrassed or guilty.

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“Hire for attitude, train for skill.” That’s the one craze in recruiting job candidates, and I’m sick of it.  Attitude is easy to fake. Someone can walk into an interview bubbling with enthusiasm, full of bright questions and observations. What they lack in hard knowledge they make up in soft appeals to my ego.

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When you don’t address negativity in the workplace, it proliferates. Try these five steps to contain the mood.

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Congress is considering legislation that would create a new mandatory electronic employment eligibility verification system to replace the current, widely criticized E-Verify program. HR groups are applauding, in part because 90% of employers already use the software on which it is based. Learn more about a proposal that could greatly simplify a cumbersome process.

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Q. I’m an HR director and I’m planning our company’s holiday party. What is our liability as the host if we serve alcohol?

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