Ask "Z"

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Why not let political junkies indulge?

March 15, 2017
Q. I’ve got a group of employees who are so distracted by the political goings-on on a national level that they just can’t seem to focus on work. How can I get them to concentrate better?

Suffering a boss who doesn’t suffer fools

March 1, 2017
Q. I just accepted a midlevel manager job. Yesterday, I met with a senior vice president who I’ll have to work with regularly. He said, “I don’t suffer fools gladly.” I interpreted that as arrogant, especially given his pompous tone. How do you cope with fools like this?

Negotiate ways to increase your impact

February 17, 2017
Q. My boss refuses to let me run an internal training program. He insists on wasting money on an outside consultant because he thinks this “expert” knows more than I do. I’m furious. Any advice on what I should do next?

What don’t they get about ‘urgent’?

February 1, 2017
Q. Lately, I’ve had two different colleagues fail to reply to my important emails. Both were marked “urgent” but were apparently ignored. One of my colleagues had the audacity to say, “I never got it,” even though I’m sure she was lying. How can I get people to treat my emails seriously?

Lawsuit? Bad idea. Find a workaround

January 19, 2017
Q. I was fired from my job. A vengeful boss resented my success and my relationships throughout the organization. I’m thinking of getting a lawyer and suing for wrongful termination. Have you been involved in such lawsuits? What’s it like to take legal action?

What to do with a chronic latecomer

December 22, 2016
Q: I’ve got a perfectly good employee with one annoying habit: He’s chronically late for meetings. I’ve repeatedly asked him why. I get excuses, not answers. I’ve started to disinvite him to meetings, but then he complains that he’s left out. Help!

Badmouth colleagues at your own peril

December 15, 2016
Q: A top executive here told me, “Don’t trust Jim. Everyone knows he’s a liar.” Jim is one of our senior executives. I would never trust Jim; I figured that out years ago! I’m more concerned that the executive felt a need to badmouth Jim, his peer. Am I wrong to think less of the guy who said this?

Why won’t the CEO let me help?

December 1, 2016
Q: It drives me crazy how our CEO loves to pay for overpriced consultants to tell us what we already know (or at least what I could’ve told the CEO for free). I’m never asked for my opinion. What’s a diplomatic way for me to convey my concern?

Ditch advice to move your stars around

November 30, 2016
Q: I have a budding star who I’m grooming for a senior role here. I keep hearing I should move him around to different jobs, exposing him to new challenges. But he loves his current job, and he’s outperforming everybody. Why change what works so well?

Whining: The ultimate self-sabotage

November 13, 2016
Q: It seems like we’re always reconfiguring our office space. I’m not privy to why we’re always building new cubicles, then knocking ‘em down and hammering away at an addition. I do know the constant noise is driving me insane. Whenever I complain that the noise is causing a distraction, I’m labeled a “malcontent.” What gives?
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