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Who's In Charge?

Here are the questions filed under this category. To read Ken's advice on any item, click on the link "Read Ken's Answer."


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How do I deal with an employee who keeps bossing her co-workers? She has been given no responsibility to direct them, but she keeps telling them what to do. They complain about her often, and I have told her in so many words to stop being bossy, but that has not stopped her. What will?
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I work for two very unorganized supervisors who expect me to come running when they lose something. When other supervisors ask me to do work that should be done by their secretary, my supervisors tell them that it is okay for me to do it. They tell me they do this because I am so good. I have spoken to their superior, but to no avail. I was contacted by a large firm for more money and where I would report to one person. Where do I go from here?
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Our branch manager is out of the office a good part of the time. Our one support person spends a large part of her day on personal phone calls (1-4 hours), instant messaging, and long lunches (up to 2 hours). I am the one who has to cover for her, and the hard part is that we are somewhat friendly. Without being the company snitch, how can I bring these kinds of infractions to the manager's attention?
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We recently hired an individual with a considerable amount of experience in our field. The only problem is that he keeps using techniques from his previous job, and they are creating some difficulties for the rest of the staff. I have talked to him about this, and he says that he will try to change, but he hasn't. What can you suggest?
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I am a successful female manager in the Logistics Department, and upper management asked me to manage the entire department. My boss told me that the new hire for my current position accepted it on the condition that he and I were to be of equal title. My boss added that the new hire had no problem reporting to a Department Manager until he discovered that it would be a female. I am upset and wonder if I should voice my concern to my boss or upper management. Am I making an issue out of nothing?
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I am not sure how to handle an employee who challenges my leadership. He makes negative comments about me to the other employees, and yesterday he flat out refused to carry out an assignment that I gave him. He has a lot of abilities and I don't want to terminate him, but I am unsure what to do.
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There are eight of us on a safety committee, and we are supposed to make recommendations to make the worksite safer. One member of the committee, not the chairman, has taken it upon himself to send recommendations to management under the name of the committee, even though the committee never agreed to them. We have all spoken to him about this, but you never know what he is going to do next. What can we do?
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I have an employee who keeps telling me how to manage, and he likes to use management vocabulary, such as by saying that I need to have more employee empowerment. Then he offers "suggestions" about priorities, assignments, and how to do my job. How do I get him to back off?
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I have an employee in my department who is on more committees, task forces, and special projects than anyone I have ever seen. The problem is that she is rarely around when I need her, and her work is suffering. How do you work with someone like this?
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The supervisors who report to me write up evaluations on their employees. I meet individually with the evaluated employees and go over their reviews. There is one employee whose review is fairly negative, and I am concerned about how to deal with her. What can you suggest?
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I have one manager who reports to me, and I work with her on a regular basis to make improvements in her department. We work well together, but when the two of us meet with my manager, there is a problem. The manager who reports to me makes it sound like she is the only one responsible for improvements in the department. I am reluctant to say anything to her or to my manager because I think I would look weak. How should I handle this?
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I have been through several managers under me, and I finally hired one who was doing excellent work for the past six months. However, on a recent assignment, I told her not to contact certain people because of confidential matters. I checked in with her later, and I was shocked to find she contacted these people. She said I was wrong to exclude them. What should I do?
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My manager rarely has any time to meet with me. The problem is that there is another manager who works closely with him who keeps giving me assignments. These assignments have nothing to do with my job and skills, and I don't like the work. My manager has told me to do what this manager says. What should I do?
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I work for an aerospace company, and my manager is supposed to set goals in January, give a progress review in July, and a final review in the next January. My 2004 appraisal was not completed until January 2005, and the goals and ratings were all made up. My boss wanted me to sign it and backdate it, and he is doing the same thing for this year's appraisal. I explained this to the HR manager, and he told me to find another job. What should I do next?
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I am a volunteer coach for my ten-year-old son's soccer team, and I drafted my boss's son onto the team. I thought it would be fun, but it's a disaster. My boss keeps telling me where to play him and not to take him out. If I follow what he says, it's not fair to the other children, but if I don't, this might cause trouble at work. What do you suggest?
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I get most of my assignments from my manager, but there is another manager at his senior level who also gives me projects and tasks. Although my manager is satisfied with my work, the other manager is never happy with it, and his communications are insulting and degrading. Most of the time, he is flat-out wrong. When I show him I am right, he ignores me. I've told my manager and he does nothing about it. How should I handle this?
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I am in charge of a committee and one member gives me trouble when we have meetings. He takes over and cuts off conversations, forces the group to move to the next item on the agenda, and even puts issues up for a vote. These are my meetings and I resent this, and I have told him, but only after the meetings because I do not want to humiliate him. He occasionally apologizes, but does the same thing at the next meeting. What do you suggest?
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Two of my co-workers do not get along, and whenever our manager is out, which happens often, they start arguing. I don't want to be branded as a person who runs to the manager whenever there is a problem, but this situation is upsetting everyone in the office. What should I do?
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My manager has suggested more than a few times that I promote one particular individual to a new position in my department. He says that she seems like an excellent employee, but she is not my first choice. How should I handle this?
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I am a regional manager, and I am troubled by the performance of one of the branch managers who report to me. When I mentioned this to my manager, he told me to "step back" and let her run the branch. I don't think she's capable of doing so. What do you suggest?
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As a manager myself, I was annoyed to learn that my manager filled an important position under me without including me in the process. When I complained, he told me that I should focus on my main work responsibilities and be thankful for his willingness to take the time to do the hiring. What should I do now?
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I am a Department Head and my manager has been going around me and dealing directly with my employees. He gives them orders and assignments, and this is upsetting me and them. I asked him to stop, but he has not done so. I am not sure what to do now.
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I am in a management position, and I report to a senior manager. Last week he told me that I am wasting too much time on one particular employee, and he told me to fire her. I believe she is making progress, and I don't want to terminate her. What do you suggest?
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One of the people I work with is constantly telling me what to do. She does not have more expertise, and she and I are at the same job level. I have told her that I don't appreciate the orders, but she persists. Is there a better way to deal with her?
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I have a bright and competent person who reports to me, and she shows much initiative on the job. The problem is that she infringes in my area. She calls meetings with other departments, makes decisions that should have my involvement, and is quick to tell senior management that she is on top of situations that are my responsibility. I don't want to curtail her initiative, but I don't like what is happening here. What do you suggest?
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I manage a branch in an area where it is very difficult to find job applicants. Since my employees are so hard to replace, I have been reluctant to discipline them for relatively minor infractions. Is this type of flexibility appropriate under the circumstances?
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How do you deal with an employee who phrases almost every comment in a critical and condescending tone? He reports to me, but he somehow thinks that he can lecture me in department meetings and directly attack my ideas and suggestions. I have tried to work with his comments, but he seems to be getting more and more impossible to handle. Why would he be acting this way and what do you suggest?
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How do you deal with an employee who keeps saying, "You should have listened to me" every time I make a decision that does not turn out well. I listen to my employees, and I try to make the best decision at the time. How should I deal with him?
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There is a very senior person here who is mean, divisive, and uncaring. I can't imagine why he is still on board. He is not team-oriented, and he demands that everything be done his way. People who report to him think he is a dictator. Why would a company keep someone like this?
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I am on a committee with three other managers, and we are analyzing customer service systems. In order to update the vice president of operations on our progress, we agreed that one of us would write a summary that would include comments from all of us. I had some important points that conflicted with those of the individual writing the summary, so he eliminated them and then emailed it. I am furious. What should I do?
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One of my employees is very skilled in her work, but recently she been giving me orders, insulting me in front of others, and taking credit for my accomplishments. I do not want to lose her because she is very skilled, and I am unsure how to deal with her in light of this.
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My manager gave me some very important responsibilities on a major project. I have had to meet with managers all over the company, and they are now coming to me for decisions, and that’s the problem. I have no decision-making power. My manager is calling all of the shots, undoing things that I have done, and saying that all decisions are his. How am I supposed to work on this project?
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I have a co-worker who constantly finds fault in all of us. She brings up petty stuff to management, and she yells at other co-workers, is very confrontational, and becomes angry at the drop of a dime. This past weekend she purposely pulled a stunt that caused me to get written up. I’ve tried to resolve conflicts with her personally, and I’ve talked to management about her, but they almost seem afraid of her. What can I do now?
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One of my fellow managers is known for putting other managers on the spot when they run meetings. I was recently conducting a meeting, and he started asking questions that had nothing to do with the topic. When I answered, he asked more. When he finally stopped, he had sidetracked the meeting for a good fifteen minutes. How do you deal with someone like this?
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When one of the managers asked me to handle a very basic chore, I emailed back that I thought his administrative assistant should do it. She has more time, and it’s really more her job than mine. She saw my email and is furious with me. I ended up doing the task, and I apologized to her several times and even brought her a gift. She is still mad at me and has refused to talk to me for the past three weeks. Do you have any suggestions?
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Whenever I ask a certain employee how he is doing on the work I have given to him, he responds with, “Don’t worry.” It is not as if I am worried. It’s just that I want an update on his work, and I’m not getting one. What is the best way to handle this?
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I walked into one of my employee’s workstations, and she immediately turned over a sheet of paper on her desk. It is clear that she did not want me to see what was on it, and I said nothing about it at the time. However, I keep wondering if I did the right thing, and how to handle this type of situation in the future.
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As part of managing, I drop by my employees’ workstations and see how they are doing at least once a day. One of my new employees told me that she does not like this micromanaging and she would rather meet formally. How does this strike you?
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I just finished interviewing an applicant who appears to have the skills for the job, but he kept asking questions throughout the interview. I tried to stop him, but he kept asking one after another, and now I don’t have enough data to make a decision. Should I bring him back for a second interview?
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We have a very good employee, but every time something does not go his way, he threatens to quit. We have been bending over to meet his needs, but now there is some resentment building toward him, not only from managers but from some of his fellow employees too. How do you deal with an employee like this?
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I manage a small department, and I attended a meeting with my manager and one of my employees. The three of us were discussing a particular problem, and I gave a summary. When I was done, my employee turned to my manager and said, “What she is trying to say is this….” She then summarized my comments. My description was fine, and I am angry over what she did. What do you think, and what should I do?
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After receiving approval to hire an assistant manager, I narrowed the search down to two candidates, and one was definitely stronger than the other. My manager interviewed both, and when I told her who I wanted, she insisted that I hire the other. I did it, but I want to know your opinion of her action.
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One of my employees is giving herself projects that are my responsibility. She has met with other managers on issues that fall under me, and she has even called vendors regarding services under my job. When I speak to her about this, she gets huffy, denies the problem, and then does it again. Is there a better way to deal with her?
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I meet regularly with my employees to discuss our work, and I have one employee who withholds information from me. When my manager asks me about projects in her domain, I usually don’t have all the information, so he calls her. When I ask her why she did not give me all the information in the first place, she says I did not ask for it. How should I deal with her?
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I walked into the office of one of my employees, and she was on the phone. She was talking business on an issue that directly involves me, and I gestured that I wanted to know what she was talking about. She abruptly turned to me and said, “This doesn’t concern you.” She then turned away and continued her conversation, and I walked out. What should I say to her?
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I have two employees that report to me, and they spend a lot of time socializing with each other. I don’t want to be a mean manager, so I have approached them while they are talking and encouraged them to get back to work. However, they soon return to socializing. How can I correct this without being a mean manager?
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I recently reviewed one of my employees and indicated in writing the areas that needed improvement, while also indicating that there would be no raise unless improvements were made. Less than two months later, this employee demanded a raise and threatened to leave if she did not get it. Should I give in or risk losing her?
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One of my employees goes to my boss whenever she wants to voice her complaints or concerns. After these meetings, my boss calls me to go over what she said. This is a big waste of time, and I have told this employee to come to me first, but she still goes directly to him. How can I change this?
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Our company just refurnished all of the offices and workstations for over 150 employees. The furniture is very nice, and the only mistake is that the top five or six managers all got furniture that is nicer than everyone else’s. I don’t think this is fair. It just separates the top managers even more from the rest of us, and now anyone who comes into my office automatically knows that I am not that important. Is it worth talking to my manager about this?
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Our company just refurnished all of the offices and workstations for over 150 employees. The furniture is very nice, and the only mistake is that the top five or six managers all got furniture that is nicer than everyone else’s. I don’t think this is fair. It just separates the top managers even more from the rest of us, and now anyone who comes into my office automatically knows that I am not that important. Is it worth talking to my manager about this?
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At a meeting to address improving one department within the company, attended by three of our managers, another staff member and I, the staff member right from the beginning of the meeting launched a personal verbal attack upon me. One manager tried to stop it saying this was a personal matter that should be addressed by just the two of us outside of work hours. Yet the meeting continued with her slandering me and making damaging comments concerning my character and work ethics. One manager said it sounded like she was jealous of my special treatment and he went on to say special treatment occurs everywhere and with anyone and coworkers should not compare. What this staff member was jealous of concerning me is out of my control--it is mandated by my immediate manager due to the circumstances of my duty hours being different each day to accommodate our clients. Many of her insults directed at me were defended by two of my managers. Twice the third manager seems to endorse the other staff member's complaints so I professional gave my reasoning for my actions. For example, the staff member said I take to much time with clients and the third manager agreed, so I explained I felt I was providing thorough and needed information and letting them ask all their questions. Was this okay to explain/defend myself? This coworker was speaking with venom and even throw out mean things (like pointing out a medical condition I have). Should the managers have let this meeting continue when they could never keep her on the focus of the meeting because she kept attacking me?
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I work in a small office environment. My current boss is related to the part time worker who is her sister-in-law. Her sister-in-law is a part time worker who doesn't have to work holidays or weekends as I and the other full timer have to do. She is supposed to be a "Fill in" when one of us full timers can't make it to work, but the manager will work the hours for her instead, when this is not the company plan. For some reason, the manager is very loyal to this relation she works with, and that is why in the past the former company before the merger kept them apart. It may seem petty, but I am tired of this woman getting away with murder and feeling she can take off at the drop of a hat, while I have to account for every minute. I would think that full timers would get more consideration. Confronting her about the problem has done no good. She gets upset and says we're stressing her out. She hates the idea of being firm and fair with her in-law. Should I go to HR?
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