Your Office Coach

Each Wednesday, nationally syndicated workplace columnist Marie G. McIntyre, Ph. D., answers your “in the trenches” workplace questions on everything from team-building to getting a raise to dealing with difficult people.

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Q: “I just had a horrible performance review in which I was given thirty days to improve as a supervisor. If my boss would stop micromanaging, I feel sure that I could demonstrate better leadership skills. How can I get her to change her management style? I love this job and don’t want to lose it.”  Anxious

Q: “I recently learned that one of our new employees has a bad work history, but I’m not sure what to do about it. This woman was involved in embezzlement and fraud while working at a small retail store. She has access to petty cash and a company credit card. I don’t know whether I should talk with her myself or have my source call the company. What do you think?”  Concerned

Q: “My boss’s arrogant and pushy daughter is one of my co-workers. ‘Belinda’ orders us around and challenges anyone who disagrees. The biggest problem, however, is that she gets involved in other people’s work without asking permission or telling anyone. How can I stop her?” Helpless

Q: “My supervisor, ‘Rhonda,’ has been pressuring me for two years to go to her church. I tried to respond to Rhonda’s overtures diplomatically, but she was not pleased with my reaction. She said that my life is going nowhere and she is fed up with me. Now Rhonda is giving me the cold shoulder and making snide remarks about me. I tried going to human resources, but the HR manager said I should apologize to Rhonda because she is just trying to be my ‘sister in Christ.’ Quitting is not an option, so what can I do?”  Innocent Victim

Q: "In my performance review, my supervisor wrote that I lack patience. She based this conclusion on some comments I made about our CEO during a recent project. This was extremely frustrating, so I often wound up venting to my boss. Although she seemed sympathetic, she now says that I was impatient. My overall review was good, but I am very upset about this comment." Misunderstood

Q: "A colleague and I manage different teams in the same program, but his group never does their share of the work. I told him about my concerns, but he just ignored me. When I complained to our supervisor, he defended my co-worker. I’ve gone two more levels up the management chain, but no one seems interested in improving the situation. What do I do now?"  At Wit’s End

Q: “I work as a legal secretary for ‘Rick.' ‘Carolyn’ used to work for him in another law office. When Rick separated from his wife about a year ago, he and Carolyn began seeing each other. Six months after the separation, Rick moved back home with his family. Although he supposedly ended his relationship with Carolyn, he still calls her every day and sends her flowers. My resentment must be obvious, because Rick recently called me into his office and said he would continue communicating with Carolyn whether I liked it or not. I plan to ask Human Resources to assign me to another attorney. Should I describe Rick’s deceitful behavior or just say that we have a personality conflict?” Disgusted

Q: "I have to share an office with a very messy colleague. My area is neat and organized, but his side of the room is completely covered with piles and piles of paper. As a result, he frequently misplaces information and fails to meet deadlines. This unsightly mess is so embarrassing that I have stopped bringing clients into the office. I can’t move out, so how do I cope?" Felix

Q: “I recently lost my management position during a reorganization. I was told that my job was being eliminated and that I would be transferred to another department. Eventually I would like to return to a leadership role. When I discussed this with my new boss, he said that once you are placed in a lower-level job, you never get back to your original level. What should I do now?” Feeling Hopeless

Q: "The owner of our company flies into uncontrollable rages. We never know when something completely trivial will set him off. Nothing we do is ever enough, and no one dares to disagree with him about anything. His wife also works here, but she never confronts him about his temper. I actually think she’s afraid of him. How do we handle this situation?" Browbeaten Employee