The Daily Item, Sunbury, PA

Business

December 17, 2013

Your Office Coach: Prove yourself an ally to new boss

QUESTION: Ever since our department was transferred to a different area of the company, morale has been going downhill rapidly. The main reason for this decline is that we have begun reporting to a new vice president. “Greg“ is an aggressive executive who seems to have a “my way or the highway“ attitude.

In addition to being very tough on employees, Greg ignores all suggestions made by the managers who supervise them. As members of the management team, we would like to convince Greg that we are really on his side. We just want him to go a little easier on the troops. Any ideas?

ANSWER: After a reorganization, people often make the mistake of firmly maintaining that past practices should be continued. But even if this advice is well-intentioned, management can easily view it as resistance to change. Therefore, if you wish to show Greg that you are “on his side,“ you need to stop suggesting and start listening.

Instead of pointing out Greg’s missteps, ask what he hopes to accomplish with your group. Once you understand his goals, you may be able to show how your proposals could help to achieve them. You should also find out why upper management decided to relocate your department, since their expectations will undoubtedly influence Greg’s decisions.

When presenting suggestions, choose your words wisely. For example, if you say “go easier on the troops,“ Greg may hear “accept mediocre performance.“ But if you propose a structured process for helping employees adapt to new standards, he may view that as helpful. In short, if Greg believes that you are open to his ideas, he may be more willing to consider yours.

Q: Two years ago, the owner of our small family business hired his son as the accounting supervisor. At the time, “Henry“ had just graduated from college with a degree in fine arts. He has no business training, has never held another job, and is very immature.

Despite Henry’s complete lack of experience, he has always been paid well above the average for his position. On top of that, his father just gave him a 25 percent raise, even though the company is struggling to stay afloat. How can I approach the owner about this without jeopardizing my own job?

A: Sadly, you have now learned what everyone employed by a family business finds out sooner or later. In any family-owned company, there are two classes of people: relatives and everyone else. And the relatives are frequently exempt from rules that govern other employees. This may not be fair, but it’s usually true.

Before making the risky choice to talk with the owner, you must clearly understand that you are not complaining to management about an employee, but complaining to a parent about his child. Also, this particular child may very well become the future owner of the company.

If Henry’s job performance is creating significant business problems, perhaps you could describe them in a calm and constructive manner. But if you are simply irritated by his familial privileges, you should probably keep those opinions to yourself.

Marie G. McIntyre is a workplace coach and the author of “Secrets to Winning at Office Politics.“ Send in questions and get free coaching tips at http://www.yourofficecoach.com, or follow her on Twitter office coach.

1
Text Only
Business
  • Watercooler: Raised to the roof

    Q: Over 15 years, I have worked my way up the corporate ladder with the same organization. I have been given a raise every year and excellent reviews, as well as several promotions.

    July 25, 2014

  • Career Coach Q&A: job search follow-up; introverts as leaders

    Starting a business:

    Q: I have a stable job that I don't hate, but I have an idea for starting my own business.

    July 25, 2014

  • How to become a leader

    QUESTION: I’ve just been promoted into a leadership role. I’m excited, but also kind of overwhelmed. What do I need to do to be good at my new job?

    July 24, 2014

  • Balancing Act: How much is your time worth? Consider outsourcing some tasks

    Todd Paton has a booming business getting customers noticed on the Web. One tool he uses is generating online press releases to build brand awareness and create links that will send traffic to a customer’s website. But Paton, owner of Paton Internet Marketing, acknowledges that writing the releases is not his strong suit. Rather than spend his time doing it, he hires out the task.

    July 23, 2014

  • The Color of Money: No easy way to get out of debt

    Many people who are deeply in debt are desperate for a quick fix. They ask the question: What can I do to get out of debt?

    July 21, 2014

  • Watercooler: When to speak up if you see problems down the line

    Q: Our organization has hired a new director. I am one of a number of division heads; above us, there's the associate director, and above him is the director. The associate director is feared and disliked for his duplicity and dictatorial nature, though few have come forward because of his vindictiveness.

    July 18, 2014

  • Career Coach: Bringing a purpose-driven spirit to work

    Increasingly, religious beliefs and practices of employees are becoming more evident in the workplace. Religious diversity and concepts of spirituality are more prevalent in organizational settings.

    July 18, 2014

  • Ask the Mompreneur: It’s best to farm out your payroll

    When my husband and I hired our first employee at our Web development company, we had it easy when it came to doing payroll.

    July 17, 2014

  • Protecting against unnecessary losses

    QUESTION: I run a small bar and grill which is open 7 days a week and have to rely on others for some of the shifts. How can I ensure employees have not become my partners?

    July 17, 2014

  • A checklist for keeping you focused at work

    A quick check of Facebook and next thing you know, a half-hour’s passed. Start chatting with a co-worker and suddenly 20 minutes is gone and the report you were supposed to finish by lunch is late.
    Workplace distractions are everywhere, especially in an age of social media and open-plan offices. In the face of so much temptation, accomplishing what you’re paid to do can be tough.

    July 16, 2014

Business Video
Stocks