“Ask The Workplace Doctors” Is A Free Workplace Communications Resource!

For over two decades, Ask the Workplace Doctors, the site developed by William I. Gorden, Ph.D., of Kent State University, School of Communication Studies, has been a workplace communications resource for thousands of people from around the world. You can still count on us to provide practical, reasonable, useful and compassionate advice.

Ask the Workplace Doctors invites you to:
•Ask a question about your workplace communication problem.
(We cannot respond to medical questions–please talk directly to a medical professional.)
•Search for answers in our archive of over 3,000 questions and responses.
A NEW FEATURE!
Share your “Good Feeling Workplace Moments”! read more

Call Center Accused

Question to Ask the Workplace Doctors about coworker complaints about performance:

So I work in a call centre where we take incoming calls. Two of my coworkers with whom I work with on the weekends hve accused me of several things:

  • I go on breaks but set my phone on admin or training. Also that I logout of my phone during the shift to spend time with colleagues or go to the local supermarket.
  • I watch videos on the computer using earphones by covering it up with my headscarf.
  • read more

    Follow Up Feeling Good About How to Cope With Authority

    Follow Up Feeling Good about how to cope with a difficult team member who asserts her authority:

    Two years ago we responded to an attorney employed at a bank who described an individual who asserted her authority. Just today that attorney sent a follow up reflection that discloses how he chose to cope. His experience undoubtedly has made him even more resolved to interpersonal communication that minimizes power-distance and promotes collaboration wherever he’s employed. I told him I would play is words forward so that they might help others cope with and/or prevent similar work situations: read more

    A Feel Good Feeling From Seeing A Subordinate Progress

    A Specific Feel Good Instance submitted to Ask the Workplace Doctors by an employee of a major auto insurance company:

    As for something that made me feel good it’s hard to pick just one but in the past 18 months or so I had an employee begin reporting to me who had very good skills and leadership  qualities but lacked confidence in their own abilities. I was able to through 1 on 1 coaching and giving this person extra projects and encouragement that helped them interview and get accepted into a leadership program. They used the program and new skills to interview and get a promotion into a supervisor role. Of course most of it was their work ethic and talent but part of the reason I got into leadership was to help others succeed so it was very fulfilling for me to see the ability in this person and then see their success. read more

    Pedal After Pedal Spoke Folks Generates Feel Good Moments

    A good feeling report to Ask the Workplace Doctors about a community training program for youth:

    The Spoke Folk Community Bicycle Program was launched in the late spring of 2007 in the lower level of an abandoned church in the heart of the City of Dunkirk, New York.  As part of The State University of New York at Fredonia’s – Dunkirk Community Partnership initiative and in response to a perceived need for the development of a neighborhood bicycle repair facility and skills development center, it was built on the assumption that a volunteer staff could be recruited and trained to make a number of bicycle related programs and services available to area residents.  Since its existence, the Spoke Folk project has met or exceeded many of its objectives, and continues to pioneer such new initiatives as “Meals on Two Wheels” and the “Every Kid Deserves a Bike Program.”  Together with the support of the SUNY Research Foundation and its community partners,  Spoke Folk will continue to work toward building a healthier community …. One Bicycle at a Time. read more

    I’m A Target of Coworkers

    A question to Ask the Workplace Doctors about coworkers’ gossip:

    So I work in a call center where we take incoming calls. Two of my coworkers whom I work with on the weekends has accused me of several things:

  • I go on breaks but set my phone on admin or training. Also that I logout of my phone during the shift to spend time with colleagues or go to the local supermarket.
  • I watch videos on the computer using earphones by covering it up with my headscarf.
  • read more

    Employee Texts Us After Hours and Is Effusively Complimentary–Especially to My Husband.

    A Question to Ask the Workplace Doctors: What to do about an employee
    who is excessive in her flattery and texting? 

    Question:
    My husband and I own a small business with four employees. We live in a very small town and we run the business out of our home. Our secretary continues to text both my husband and myself after hours with subjects totally unrelated to work. She will constantly give compliments to my spouse and myself about what a great boss he is, how he is the “rock” for the team. She will also provide nutritional supplements for his “stress”, etc. We have attempted to discuss these issues with her and she is great for a time, but then falls into the same habit. I don’t want to lose a productive employee, but this invading our time after hours is getting old quickly. Any suggestions – before we end this work relationship? read more

    A Supervisor Yelling at Her General Manager

    Question submitted to Ask the Workplace Doctors by a supervisor who became enraged at her General Manager.

    I had a startling experience at my new job last week. I am a general manager with 6 supervisors reporting to me. One Supervisor asked for my time in the office last week. She raised a concern that I had checked off some of her tasks in our task planner system when she was not done. I acknowledged that I had because they were overdue. It is a high company priority to complete them on time. She continued to raise her voice while telling me ‘you can’t do that’. read more

    Called a Racist on Facebook–Worried It Will Hurt My Business

    Question to Ask the Workplace Doctors about being labeled racist by an employee

    I own a small restaurant with 5 servers and 2 cooks.  I have been doing an excellent level of business with no issues.  I do have a set of rules and have discussed how to prepare/cut/serve the desserts but the servers often cut pieces extra large.  That is what happened.  She did and I asked her to follow the portion size.  She then cut the pieces in half and then it was too small.  Any time I have need to provide instruction or training to this one server, it results in a flare up. She feels I treat her differently because she is black.  I do the exact same thing with all servers. read more

    I’m Afraid I’ll Cross a Line With My Boss!

    A question to Ask the Workplace Doctors about
    how to get over an attraction for the man who is her boss.

    Question: 
    I caught myself staring at my boss and I was smiling about it. Instantly I told myself to stop. He’s married, but not only that, he’s my boss. He’s such a nice man. I’m not exactly sure on the age difference. However he’s one of the youngest bosses I’ve had. I would say he’s in his 20’s possibly he’s 30’s. I myself am in my 20’s. I had one previous relationship with a man I used to work with. But the moment he became a manager, and my supervisor, we put things off. He was offered a transfer to a different location and after that we did date. It was different that time, because he was single. read more