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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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Question: “I’ve had trouble getting along with every manager I’ve ever had. In my last job, it got so bad that I asked for a transfer, but now I’ve run into the same issues with my new boss. I’ve already written to Human Resources about my communication problems with her. How can I turn this situation around?” —  Discouraged
Question: “Last year, I made a sexual harassment complaint against my boss. He kept telling me to wear short skirts and asked if I had thong underwear. He offered to bring me wine and even showed up at my house. When I complained, the president said it was my fault because I wasn't firm enough when I told my boss to stop. He said we should forget about it and tell no one, because “nobody got hurt." Now my boss constantly follows me around the building, asks about my lunch plans and watches out the window when I leave. People have seen him going through my trash. This may not be harassment, but it’s annoying. What can I do until I find another job?” — Need Help
Question:  “Our CEO recently announced that the company is in dire straits, and major layoffs are coming. Top management has not communicated with the staff since the announcement. Morale is really low, employees are starting to accept their fate and very little is getting done. As a senior manager, what can I do to help my employees deal with this and prepare for the future?” — Concerned Executive
Question: "I don’t know how to handle an abusive boss. I work for the president and vice president of a small company. The President and I can discuss anything, but the VP is confrontational and rude.  He verbally abuses me when no one is around and becomes especially angry when deadlines are tight. I’ve been in abusive relationships in my personal life, so I don’t intend to condone this behavior.  However, I’m not sure exactly what to do." — Not a Doormat
Question: "How do you handle a co-worker who constantly uses foul language in a professional office?  I’ve hinted to her that I don’t like it, but that did no good. I talked with her boss and the human resources manager, but they seem to view me as a tattletale. Do I just have to learn to live with the four-letter words?" — Offended

Every year, you probably receive (or help write) your performance evaluation. But have you evaluated your job lately? Workplace coach Joan Lloyd suggests asking yourself these questions annually:

Every year, you probably receive (or help write) your performance evaluation. But have you evaluated your job lately? Workplace coach Joan Lloyd suggests asking yourself these questions annually:

Question: "A manager who works for me won’t take breaks, lunch hours or vacations. Although I tell her to take time off, she never does, so I sometimes pay her a bonus for the extra hours.I keep asking her to delegate, but she refuses to let go. She volunteers for new projects, but she doesn’t finish them. Even though I’ve hired people to help her, I still find that important work isn’t completed. She constantly interrupts employees because she loves to socialize.I don't want to let her go because she is a very nice person, and training a replacement would take a long time.  Please help!" — Desperate

After seeing the movie ‘Erin Brockovich,” you think, “I supervise someone like her.”  Here’s how to manage flashy free-spirits:

After seeing the movie ‘Erin Brockovich,” you think, “I supervise someone like her.”  Here’s how to manage flashy free-spirits:

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