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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 work in a very small office with my boss, his wife and two administrative assistants.  As the office manager, I supervise the assistants, but they always take their questions or concerns to the boss’s wife. Recently, when one of them complained about a task that I gave her, the boss’s wife told me to do the task instead. So how can I be considered their supervisor?” — Ignored
Question: “My boss is sarcastic and likes to yell.  When I confronted him about his behavior, he blew up, threw his arms around and got red in the face. I said that I had to get back to work and walked out of his office. Now, he barely speaks to me. I’m tired of all this drama. What should I do?” — Sick of Fighting
Question: “I recently started a new job and can see many ways to improve things. However, 'Beth,' my main co-worker, refuses to consider any of my ideas. She has been working here for 15 years, and she gets very defensive if I suggest ways that she could do her work more efficiently. How can I get her to listen to me?” — Frustrated

People who fail come from all walks of life. A handful of people, regardless of education, intelligence, manners, appearance or other obvious factors, rise steadily through the ranks and stay on top through fat and lean times. They are the types who, either consciously or instinctively, know the art of political survival.
 

People who fail come from all walks of life. A handful of people, regardless of education, intelligence, manners, appearance or other obvious factors, rise steadily through the ranks and stay on top through fat and lean times. They are the types who, either consciously or instinctively, know the art of political survival.
 

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

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

Question: “I am the CEO of a small community bank. We have a dress code that has not been updated for several years. Many of our female employees have asked if we could relax the dress code requirement that hose must be worn with pants or long skirts. I don't want to be needlessly old-fashioned or out-of-step with the rest of the world, but I’m not sure if this is appropriate. How should we go about reviewing our dress code policy?”  —Not a Fashionista
Question: “I’m a new manager, and one of my employees has a lot more experience than I do. I feel that I should be working for him. He says that he didn’t want the management job, but he seems to resent my having it. This is becoming very uncomfortable for me. How should I handle it?” — New Supervisor
Question: “I quit my last job because the company owner had a complete personality change. He became downright mean and began engaging in unethical financial practices. My new job is interesting but has very low pay and no benefits. I'm afraid I may have made the wrong choice. Now I’m not sure what to do.” — Confused about Career
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