The Daily Item, Sunbury, PA

Business

June 10, 2014

Your Office Coach: Don’t ’confront’ new boss over changing procedures

QUESTION: Recently, a new manager was transferred to our store from a different location. “Gwen“ apparently wants everything to be just like it was at her previous workplace. Instead of trying to understand how we do things here, she has turned the place upside down with one change after another.

The employees constantly complain that they can’t keep up with all these changes. Morale is at an all-time low, and customer service is declining. I would like to help solve this problem, but I’m not sure what to do. Should I confront Gwen and let her know how everyone feels?

ANSWER: When dealing with a new boss, “confront“ is a dangerous word to use. Even if Gwen’s changes are misguided, an adversarial approach will only damage your relationship with her. New managers always have fresh ideas, and they tend to regard critics as obstructive and resistant to change.

Nor should you volunteer to “let her know how everyone feels,“ because that will make you look like a rabble-rouser. If the whole group is upset, then the whole group needs to discuss the problem. The key, however, is not to focus on feelings, but to explain the business issue.

For example: “Gwen, we want you to know that we appreciate the experience you bring from your previous store. However, learning so many new procedures at once has been difficult and has slowed our service to customers. Do you think we could have a meeting to review all the changes, then wait a few weeks before making any more?“

If your concerns are presented in a supportive, helpful manner, Gwen might actually listen. But if you begin criticizing her leadership style, you will only start an argument that you are undoubtedly going to lose.

Q: Our company recently instituted exercise workouts for “professional development,“ even though our jobs don’t involve any physical labor. Given my age and knee problems, I am concerned about participating in these sessions. I also worry that non-participation could affect my career, because the leader of this effort is close to our CEO.

So far, I have joined with some other reluctant employees who walk on the outskirts of the exercise group, but this feels very conspicuous. A co-worker suggested that I explain my situation to management, but I prefer not to share personal medical information. Although I think these sessions are ridiculous, I don’t want to make waves. What should I do?

A: People who excitedly promote workplace workouts or vigorous teambuilding games often forget that some employees, like yourself, have limitations that they prefer not to broadcast. Others simply dislike exercising at work for a variety of reasons. So unless these activities are clearly job-related, participation should always be voluntary.

Unfortunately, however, your company doesn’t share this view. Since you would rather not disclose your medical circumstances, your best option may be to stick with the walking group and wait to see whether anyone cares. If enough people choose this alternative, walking may come to be viewed as a standard part of the program.

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 officecoach.

 

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