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Lynne Curry

Q: I’ve worked three years for our branch, first as a salesperson and then as the sales manager. When I started to burn out on sales, I told our company’s CEO I wanted to move into operations and he said he’d move me up as soon as he could. Last week, our branch manager unexpectedly resigned and I got the promotion.

I need to decide who to hire or promote into my place as sales manager. “Anne” is the logical choice. She’s our highest-producing sales agent and a true go-getter...

Lynne Curry

Q: I oversee three departments in a company without an HR officer. Our project coordinator is a wizard with spreadsheets and a stickler for details. Without him we’d be a ship run amuck.

He’s also an odd duck. I’m glad he’s out of sight of our customers because his appearance takes getting used to. He has manicured fingernails, plucked eyebrows and sometimes wears face powder. He’s also moody and rude. He walks away from co-workers when they’re talking to him and stares off into space without listening during staff meetings. When I’ve asked him about this he says, “If the topic doesn’t interest me, it’s a waste of time.”...

Lynne Curry

Q: I’ve worked for a retail chain for seven years, since high school. During my first six years, I worked part-time and went to college, taking mostly night classes. During that time, I received excellent performance reviews and many employee of the month awards. After I received my BA in business management, my company accepted me into its management trainee program.

Because I was in a support role and our general manager supervisor understood my commitment as a Christian who believes Sunday needs to be set aside for church and individual worship, I never worked Sundays. He didn’t consider it a problem as I willingly worked 60-hour workweeks and met all expectations and other trainees willingly worked Sundays...

Lynne Curry

Q: I handle marketing for a large engineering company. Our owners are engineers and not managers. As a result, no one runs things when people problems occur.

To produce proposals, I need to coordinate with two individuals, a department manager and a project manager. Both are bullies and have made my work life a living hell for three years.

When I ask them for materials or concepts for the proposals, they refuse to answer my emails or meet with me, saying they’re too busy.

When I visit their offices to ask them questions, they scream at me that I’ve been around long enough to know the answers.

When I make up proposal content and they read the final proposal, they curse me for misstating key concepts...

Lynne Curry

Q: I’m a new business owner and supervise my first employee, a young man who pushes endlessly for “perks” even as he displays a lack of work ethic by packing up his things before 5 and texting during the work day.

I could fire him and hire someone new, but I might get someone just as bad. I sense he has no idea how I or any other supervisor would read his behavior. How do I turn this around?

A: The answer you seek lies between his ears. What motivates him? If you find that out, you may be able to get what you want, a motivated employee.

Managers waste both money and time when they ignore the employee mind, the least understood component of employee productivity. Starting from day one, each employee forms answers to questions such as:...

Lynne Curry

Q: I’m the only male employee in a large oil patch company’s accounting department. Although I have a ten year history of positive performance reviews and a generally good relationship with prior supervisors, I’ve always had a testy relationship with a coworker. When our former supervisor resigned four months ago, she was stepped up to acting supervisor and officially given the title a month later.

Since she took over our department, I’ve had a target on my back. She wrote me up for quarreling with her when I simply disagreed. When I protested the write up, I was written up for yelling...

Lynne Curry

Q: Our business development manager slams anyone who dares dispute him. He thinks he’s immune from consequences as he brings so much money into our company.

As I don’t live in fear, I took him on in a recent staff meeting. His comeback was “Young lady, if I may call you that, you need a boyfriend.” I responded “I already have a great one.” He then said “You need a more adequate one.” I was speechless. What could I and should I have said?

A: Speechlessness proves an excellent response to sheer stupidity. A stunned “Pardon me” indicating you can’t believe he said anything that brainless serves as a low voltage response. Alternatively, “Sir, you’re out of line” demonstrates your professionalism in response to his gaucheness...

Lynne Curry

Q. Our business development manager slams anyone who dares dispute him. He thinks he's immune from consequences as he brings so much money into our company.

As I don't live in fear, I took him on in a recent staff meeting. His comeback was "Young lady, if I may call you that, you need a boyfriend." I responded "I already have a great one." He then said "You need a more adequate one." I was speechless. What could I and should I have said?

A. Speechlessness proves an excellent response to sheer stupidity. A stunned "Pardon me" indicating you can't believe he said anything that brainless serves as a low voltage response. Alternatively, "Sir, you're out of line" demonstrates your professionalism in response to his gaucheness...

Lynne Curry

Q: My supervisor is gunning for me.

When I got my job, it was not with his blessing. He wanted a friend of his hired but was out of town when HR called with the hire offer. His friend apparently turned down the salary, thinking he was a shoo-in for the job and could negotiate a higher wage. His attitude ticked off the HR manager, who called me, the No. 2 choice...

Lynne Curry

Q. My supervisor is gunning for me.

When I got my job, it was not with his blessing. He wanted a friend of his hired but was out of town when HR called with the hire offer. His friend apparently turned down the salary, thinking he was a shoo-in for the job and could negotiate a higher wage. His attitude ticked off the HR manager, who called me, the No. 2 choice...

Lynne Curry

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