Q: I am responsible for running a weekly workflow meeting in our office. During the meeting, the attendees are constantly needing to have information repeated that they missed because they were too busy checking email on their smartphones. This results in errors on projects and makes the meetings run longer than necessary. How can I approach my boss to request a moratorium on smartphone use during meetings – he’s the worst offender!
Q: I work in a small office, where all of the “old-timers” go to lunch every day. I feel left out. Isn’t this rude office behavior? Any advice for me?
A: Join them. I’ve found this maxim to be true – the more I focus on the difficult behavior of others, the more I tend to feel helpless, small-minded and irritable. The more I focus on making a positive difference, the more I feel large-minded, empowered and happy – even if my attempted contribution is a dud.
Q: Am I still in the right job? How can I discern when it’s time to move on?
A: Try this checklist. Sprinkled with Scripture.
Q: I have hundreds of emails to wade through every day – which is not helped by one person in the office who has a “reply all” mania. I sometimes miss actual important items that pertain to my job because I tend to glaze over when I come to his emails. What is my best approach to handle this?
A: Email has a way of taking on a life of its own, swamping us with unnecessary information, drowning us in minutiae, appealing to instant gratification and reducing productivity.
Q: I am being paid less than I was before, but being asked to do more. It feels unjust – how do I handle this?
A: More work for less pay? Sounds biblical. Pharaoh laid the same burden on the Hebrew slaves after Moses outraged him with demands for their liberation. You might remember the song, Let my employees go. Or something like that.
Q: My supervisor has banned office gossip. Is that even possible? How do we define gossip – is it the normal water cooler chit-chat or something else?
A: With God all things are possible. With supervisors, some things are possible. But in this case it’s mission impossible.
Q: I mistakenly hit “reply all” on an email in which I made a remark about someone that I really wish I hadn’t. What steps would you suggest for me to repair the damage?
Q: My boss criticizes me in front of my subordinates, which makes it harder for me to have credibility in my management of them. How can I get him to stop?
A: Suggest to him some proverbs from the Solomon School of Management:
Q: I have two employees who really dislike each other. I know I can’t make everybody be friends, but their snippy comments and complaints about each other are detrimental to the office environment. Do you have any tips for me?
A: You have two problems here. One is bite-sized. The other is super-sized.
Your bite-sized problem is two employees who at face value might be unfit for a professional workplace. They’ve let unresolved conflicts fester and escalate and are behaving like junior high rivals.
Q: I have a co-worker who falls asleep at her desk every afternoon. I’d like a little paid nap too, but I feel like a tattletale bringing this up to our supervisor. It does, however, feel unjust to me. Should I just wake her up every day, ignore it or do something else?
A: “A little sleep, a little slumber, a little folding of the arms to rest – Then poverty will come upon you like a robber, and want like a brigand.” (Proverbs 24:33)