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: “After only five days in my new management job, my boss says I’m changing things too fast and need to slow down. But I haven't changed anything. I’ve just been asking a lot of questions, yet people still seem upset with me. This is a small company, and they’ve never had a manager in this department. The company hired me to implement new policies and procedures. I’m confused about how to handle this situation. What should I do?” Ready to Take Over

Question: “Our department head refuses to allow telecommuting. He will not accept that people can work productively at home even though other department heads occasionally permit it. My commute is an hour each way, so eliminating drive time one or two days a week would greatly improve my quality of life. My immediate supervisor favors the idea, but she knows the department head won’t approve it, and if he does it for me, he’ll have to do it for everyone. I would like to offer myself as a telecommuting test case. How should I present the idea?” — Tired of Driving

Question:  “Our new department head makes many inappropriate comments. For example, he told a co-worker that because I’m really old, he doesn’t know how I will fit into his future plans. Later, he directly asked me if I was thinking of retiring. I’m 53 and have worked here for 21 years. The thought of retirement has never crossed my mind. Another incident occurred when a young co-worker and I were laughing about something. The boss said that we got along very well considering our age difference. He also makes comments to women about their anatomy or weight. Everyone finds his remarks offensive. He’s our top manager, so what can we do?” — Insulted

Question: “My boss is promoting me to supervisor, but several co-workers are unhappy about it. Ever since he told them, a few people have been very nasty to me. None of these co-workers showed any interest in the position, yet they now find fault with everything I do. I feel like I’m under a microscope. I don’t go to work every day to make friends. My goal is to do a good job and earn a living. After I’m promoted, should I talk to these people about their behavior or should I act like it never happened?  How do I squash this jealousy and nip this behavior in the bud?” — New Supervisor

Question: “My boss hired his ‘good friend’ as a top-level manager. This woman has no qualifications for the job, and she’s making costly mistakes.  She also pawns her work off on others and treats everyone rudely. We’ve tried talking to the boss about this woman’s inexperience and offensive behavior, but he refuses to listen.  Some long-term employees are considering leaving.  How can we explain this without putting our jobs on the line? This woman’s behavior has had a major impact on our work and may do long-term damage to the company.” -- Afraid to Speak Up

Here's a primer on what sexual harassment is and how to react when you see it.

Here's a primer on what sexual harassment is and how to react when you see it.

Win over a new boss

by on February 1, 2001 9:00am
in Your Office Coach

You want to cultivate a positive relationship with a new boss, so you make every effort to impress the newcomer. You laugh at every joke, agree with every opinion and do whatever you’re told. The result? You’re off to a terrible start.
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