Can I Start Afresh With Negative Subordinate?

Question to Ask the Workplace Doctors about negative talk about our workplace:

Someone under me has said some really negative things to me about working here, such as “I can barely tolerate working here,” “this is not the job I expected,” “I don’t want to be involved in the tasks I’m given,” “I want to do things are a higher level like you (me – the supervisor),” and “I don’t like working with you.” When I ask her for clarification she refuses to talk about it.

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Supervising An Employee With Poor Judgment!

Question to Ask the Workplace Doctors about a subordinate who repeatedly shows poor judgment:

I supervise an employee who repeatedly shows poor judgment. She has been counseled by my manager, by HR and by me, and has been referred to EAP. We have started the documentation process, but I understand this process is extremely lengthy. My organization believes in giving everyone every possible opportunity to improve. Because I am the one who works with her daily, I feel my assessment of her use of poor judgment is credible.

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Do I Have To Smile In Our Morning Huddle?

Question to Ask the Workplace Doctors about a boss’ threat to be happy in the morning huddle:

I have a problem. I am not a morning person. I am usually not as talkative in the morning as I am in the afternoon. I have worked in the field of orthodontics for twenty years and it has not been an issue. After attending a seminar on teamwork, our manager decided to have morning huddles. At these huddles I usually do not have much to say because my thinking is not as clear in the morning, and caffeine is not an option, since I suffer from anxiety and depression I am not a very talkative person anyway and early morning chatter really does not interest me.

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Partners, But One Micromanages Me!

Question to Ask the Workplace Doctors about a boss who micromanages and undermines:

I work at a major brokerage firm as an Account Executive. My main responsibilities are running the day-to-day operations and administrative work for two partners that I have been with for over five years. I have been loyal throughout this time period, and they have been very generous and understanding especially during my divorce. I currently do have a problem with one of them. The senior partner for whatever reasons has become very close like family and makes most of the decisions. He is kind and considerate, and during my tough period he and his wife took me under their wing and helped me immensely. Sometimes, I find it difficult to separate personal and business and get emotional, but for the most part I maintain utmost professionalism.

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Fifteen Years And Feel Like Office Equipment!

Question to Ask the Workplace Doctors about feeling disrespected:

I have been a secretary/receptionist for 15 years with 3 small companies (10 employees or less) and I am awesome at what I do. I have an issue that keep re-occurring. That issue is when co-workers and/or supervisors not respecting my space or allowing me the freedom to make small decisions on how I complete my work. Some examples are: things being deleted and/or moved on my computer without my consent; a supervisor who is not very good with computers (and I am an expert user) will tell me how I should search for files; a temporary person (daughter of supervisor) who tells me how I should be doing my job, etc. In all cases, I have used positive communication skills to state the reason(s) why I do something in a certain way and that I would prefer to continue with my way because it allows me to be very efficient.

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How Many Subordinates Should I Manage?

Question to Ask the Workplace Doctors about span of authority:

What would be the normal amount of adults a supervisor should have under them in order to do an effective job? We are reorganizing. I will have various sites to supervise and I will be working with 13 adults

Signed, Supervisor

Dear Supervisor:

The term “span of control” refers to the number of subordinates who report directly to a single manager, supervisor, or lead. A correlation generally exists between the span of control and the number of layers within an organization. A low span of control (i.e., few subordinates per manager, supervisor, or lead) leads to a “tall” organization (i.e., one with many layers) whereas a high span of control leads to a flat organization. It is worth noting that any good supervision takes a lot of time, often more time than upper management is willing to admit. Furthermore there is the business trend of ‘flattening’ organizations which means increasing the ‘span of control’, thus making a single supervisor responsible for more supervisees.The question of what is a “normal” number of supervises in order for a supervisor to be able to do an effective job does not have one ‘right’ answer but depends on several factors.The most salient of those factors are:

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An Unhappy Challenge to Hiring

Question to Ask the Workplace Doctors about personal relationships and work:

The dilemma I have at work with a colleague is that she developed a companionship (she is married) with an adult male student on placement (in a relationship but recently divorced) during his placement. That became apparent at work, and they showed their closeness as friends at work. Now in the future, we will likely be facing this former student applying for work with us. Do we consider the relationship that has developed and that is still going on now (colleague talks about it at work), or does it not matter?

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Procrastination Causes Sour Notes!

Question to Ask the Workplace Doctors about procrastination: I feel as though I am spending 50% of my efforts on follow through due to no response–a huge waste of time.

Please help me with a communication problem. I am a manager for promotion and outreach in the music department at a university. My responsibility includes scheduling campus performances and planning music tours for ensemble groups. After three years of trying to figure out how to light a fire under procrastinators, I am ready to give up. I send e-mails, I leave voice mails, and I put documentation in their office mailbox asking for their instructions or decision that impacts an upcoming performance or tour. I feel as though I am spending 50% of my efforts on follow through due to no response–a huge waste of time.

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I Don’t Like To Make Threats To Get Rules Obeyed!

Question to Ask the Workplace Doctors about manager threats: Frequently I resort to statements like it is an expected behavior and you need to make a decision to accept it or consider looking elsewhere.

I am the manager of a diverse group of respiratory therapist at the only hospital in a community of 60,000. Sometimes it seems like pulling teeth to get them all to agree and act on the latest policies coming from administration, such as no smoking on company grounds including the parking lots. Frequently I resort to statements like it is an expected behavior and you need to make a decision to accept it or consider looking elsewhere. I would prefer employees would accept new rules and not push the envelope. How can I get the message across without implied threats?

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Are There Best Practices For Same Work Stations?

Question to Ask the Workplace Doctors about workspace:

Do you have any best practices on sharing workspace? The situation is in a call center were we would have one person using a cube during a day shift and one person using the same cube during a night shift. There would never be a time when both were on shift together. Any feedback?

Signed, Best???

Dear Best???:

Have you considered convening a representative committee of employees or cluster group to brainstorm the dos and don’ts that may sharing the same space from shift to shift best for each other? That would generate rules and practices that are psychologically owned by the users. It might also generate ideas for making the overall environment more effective and pleasant. Will you send us what you come up with? We can then pass it on. Working together is an on-going interdependent process that at its best I call WEGO.

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