Tag Archives: boss

Weakest Link: When Strong Team Needs Management

When a usually strong group is taken down by one bad apple, manager needs to lead by management. Basic steps to help team member get back on track.  — BadWitch

Readers Are Spellbound & Perplexed…

Dear GWBW — Help a new manager out, I’ve never received training and it doesn’t seem readily available to me. I’m really stumped. I have a team that was working productively and harmoniously until one member started brining her personal business into work in a way that has been disruptive to the others’ productivity. No one has complained (although I’ve seen some eyes roll, still no complaints filed), but as their manager I see negative overall effect in output. Do you think speaking to her alone without complaint will make her even more sensitive or is otherwise de-motivating? I appreciate any help. Manage This!

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Dear Manage This!,

Meet with your problem employee alone and first (document it). Express your concern that she may be bringing her personal problems to work, and that may be what is negatively affecting her work performance of late. Identify with her issue that is affecting her choices and behaviors such as chronic tardiness, absenteeism, or uncooperativeness, etc. (you may or may not note that it affects the whole team’s morale, but tread lightly, keep the focus primarily on her performance (something she has power to change). Then identify your performance expectations of her as solution (i.e., take X time off and don’t return without a medical doctor’s note; or work benchmarks she can achieve by X-deadline(s)). Be specific. Get her agreement. Document. Follow up with her in scheduled benchmark meetings agreed to. If everything proceeds well, (unless your corporate policies require it) no need to bring HR into the mix at this point, but it’s there if you need formal documentation or another back-up tool.

As for the team, it can be brought up in team meetings (namelessly) as productivity issues or similar, and challenge them to solutionize as a team. Sometimes a manager needs to be a leader. Peer pressure can be a beautiful thing in deft hands.

Lastly, research online or in-house managerial training resources and classes you can get approved to attend. Build your own skills toolbox.

Inspire your people to succeed not just work,

BadWitch

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Dear Manage This!,

Here is the hard part of leadership. You can’t avoid it. Sometimes you just have to pull an employee aside and say, “WHEN!” You are in the role of Big Picture Holder, so if you see the big picture going off course because of one person’s attitude, it’s your job to step in and try to get things back in the flow. It is clear that one person’s bad attitude can affect the productivity and morale of an entire company.

As the manager, you have the right and should have the impetus to talk to the troublemaker. But start with a single idea: compassion and understanding breed compassion and understanding. We don’t know what nuclear disaster has taken over this worker’s personal life to cause the negative shift in her. Connect her with company sponsored counselors, stress management professionals  or other mental health support.

Realize that for the legal safety of your company, you don’t want to get embroiled in her issues, but you want to compassionately let her see how her behavior is affecting the entire office and the productivity and subsequent profitability of the company. This conversation is also your opportunity to document the issue should further intervention be needed. Keep and eye on things. Take notes documenting when and where issue reoccurs after your conversation.

Managing employees can be like parenting children— but with Child Protective Services watching over your shoulder. Remember, you are the boss, not the best friend. However, there is no reason that you cannot be a compassionate, empathetic boss who mentors his employees (yes, even the problem employees) to greatness.

Good luck,

GoodWitch

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Juicy Relationship Coaching for Leaders and Individuals.

Mondays money, work, purpose dilemmas. Thursdays family, relationships, love dramedy. Send your brewing questions on how to thrive—not just survive— modern life to: coaching@stillsitting.net.

© 2009-2017 ManifestGroup. All rights reserved.

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UPDATED Bottomless Office Pit: Cake, Gifts & Money Collection

Money collection for office gifts, cakes. Funding co-worker celebrations. Fun, yummy, good or bad idea?  — BadWitch

Readers Are Spellbound & Perplexed…

Dear GWBW — If I never have another slice of office birthday cake, I’d live! These constant money drives for other people’s gifts has gotten on my last nerve. Yesterday (she) asked me for money for someone’s baby shower gift in our Utah office who I never even met! This is nuts, crazy, just wrong!!! Give me some good lines.  — Cham-pain Hater

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Dear Cham-pain Hater,

I love cake, I love presents — for me! — so I hear ya, but figure out and clearly state your policy for all to understand about you, and stick with it.

Back in college while working at a major department store, my manager came around at Christmas time to ask for donations to an equally major charity. Coincidentally, this charity had been in the news for administrative financial abuse to fund schmancy lunches and lavish personal travel, and such. I was already consistently giving to an organization of my choice, so when she first asked then attempted to strong-arm me for my hard-earned money (mockingly, “What?! You can’t even give up a dollar?”) — her attitude alone underscored to me that she was only pimping to win a department managers’ contest. That manipulative sort of crap only served to make me stand even firmer in my convictions and state, “Nope. Especially not “even” a dollar.” I freely give to what truly stirs me, and not to earn kiss ass points with a manager competing in a peer contest for a personal gain prize, via my dollars while supposedly campaigning for a charity I didn’t even believe in.

Knowing what you stand for lets you know what you want to fund in life, and keep the change from the rest in your own wallet. In the game of office politics, only give when you expect nothing in return (never give a present to get a present, whether retail or brown-nose points), or all you’ll get is disappointment. Nothing more bitter than a low-carb flourless cake of guilt and shame.

Do-goodahs, pleeeze,

BadWitch

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[No, your RSS and e-Mail subscriptions are not broken. Here’s GW’s added Reply.]

Dear Cake-Champain Hater,

Truth works better than any excuse you can come up with! I would start by asking for a general pool with once yearly contribution (say $20) that is split for all employee presents, like a Christmas Club. I have heard of employees being asked to give $20 a month for other employee gifts. Maybe a $10 a month fund for cake and office morale isn’t asking too much.

My question is, as an employee, don’t you appreciate when your birthday is noticed?  Isn’t that an unrecognized benefit of your work environment? It sounds like you’ve got an office that has taken the time to create a more family like environment. This makes for a comfortable place to work. Believe me, not all offices give a damn whether it’s your birthday, wedding or baby—just do the work.

It is really nice to be appreciated. Your office culture has found a way to give each other recognition of the lives lived outside the cubicle walls. Say thank you and throw in $10. If money is really tight right now, tell your co-workers that truth. They’ll appreciate it. Then throw in $2 or $3.

Family may be a pain in the ass sometimes with their little rituals, but that is the good stuff you remember and appreciate years later. Quit bitching and have some cake.

Good luck,

GoodWitch

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Juicy Relationship Coaching for Leaders and Individuals.

Mondays money, work, purpose dilemmas. Thursdays family, relationships, love dramedy. Send your brewing questions on how to thrive—not just survive— modern life to: coaching@stillsitting.net.

© 2009-2017 ManifestGroup. All rights reserved.

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Boss Throws Employee Under the Bus

What to do when the Boss Formerly Known as “Cool” goes gonzo berserk-o on you? Managing your manager in times of stress.   — BadWitch

Readers Are Spellbound & Perplexed…

Dear GWBW — I have enjoyed my job with a company until recently. I truly believe in their mission but now I find my immediate boss is totally stressed out and throwing me under the bus for things he’s missed and that his boss is getting on him for. He’s been listing off a bunch of crap and cc’ing everyone in the management chain on it. I don’t agree with his comments, but not because I’m defensive. He’s just throwing me under the bus. How do I deal with this without losing my job I need so much? Run Over

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Dear Run Over,

Ah!, petty tyrants! It’s true what they say, that they are usually our biggest teachers in life. So congrats for the promotion to working with one now. …Having said that…

When the going is good, it’s easy to be a cool and fun boss, so I will cut his current bad “skills” some slack in this stressed time. This only means I’m suggesting you schedule a one-on-one with him to discuss the concerns you’ve outlined here. This isn’t about proving a thesis or giving a lecture, but rather to address then seek cues and clues as to length and duration of his said offensive behaviors, and mutually identify some possible solutions. This first meeting should primarily be an assessment to determine a direction for your next steps in the workplace. Even if he is completely and totally open to agreeing with you and admitting his ineffective management conduct (and he won’t), changing behaviors is a process. But should he respond other than with that miracle, you will want to very carefully understand where he is coming from, for your own good actions moving forward.

Email cc’g everyone with accusations (founded or unfounded) about you both meets usual protocol in many offices, as well as is unprofessional if the tone or outright accusation is wrong. I would highlight this in your conversation, because likely he received a good chew out from above, and he is very possibly covering his tracks behind him (a.k.a. CYA or self-preservation).

Let him know you are open to making improvements (tasks and relationships). Be objective, speak plainly but respectfully. Don’t interrupt each other. By the end of the meeting, you will know exactly what you must do next. Oh and document, document, document.

Dialogue means “two” and reciprocal,

BadWitch

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Dear Run Over,

There’s a lot of this “throwing under the bus” going around. My guess is your boss, who I will describe as a wimp with power, is either too scared for the safety of their own job or trapped in a perfectionist mindset that keeps him unable to fess up when it’s his fault. It takes a mature person to admit when they are wrong. Apparently, your boss still has some growing up to do.

It is horrible when you are feeling less motivated for he overall mission of the company because your immediate boss is unable o act in a mature manner. But don’t throw the baby out with the bath water. Surely, if you still want this job, you get that one person’s actions do not add up to the entire value of a company. Keep going.

My answer, be sure that you give your own answer to some of these email. It is not being defensive to either give your version of events or let the higher ups know critical pieces of information were missing when you were doing your piece of the work. Chances are your higher ups already know the problems with this manager. Give them the info they need to make the right decisions. Let them know that you are the scapegoat without actually pointing fingers. Just tell the truth with as little emotion as possible. Ask questions. Let your higher ups know you are trying to do the right thing.

Truth is the higher ups as probably less than impressed that these issues keep crossing their desk. Your boss needs to realize the sign of a good manager is the ability to help their team get things right. Training up underlings leads to a crack team where everyone is invested in the outcome. Pointing fingers and waiting to throw people under the bus every time something goes wrong leads to decreased productivity. Your team should not be working on pins and needles. If you are constantly waiting for the axe to drop, you’ll be questioning your work rather than really working to do your best. No one likes to be waiting to see whether there job will be threatened every time they make a mistake.

Face it, your boss is a wimp who doesn’t understand that the truly powerful empower the people who work for them for the best of all. He’s too focused on taking credit for everything done well and throwing you under the bus for anything wrong. Do your best work and let the higher ups know what’s going on—for your sanity and your job!

Good luck,

GoodWitch

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Juicy Relationship Coaching for Leaders and Individuals.

Mondays money, work, purpose dilemmas. Thursdays family, relationships, love dramedy. Send your brewing questions on how to thrive—not just survive— modern life to: coaching@stillsitting.net.

© 2009-2017 ManifestGroup. All rights reserved.

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Quitting Low Principles. Job Rock is a Hard Place

Is there any right market to quit your job for your principles?   — BadWitch

Readers Are Spellbound & Perplexed…

Dear GWBW — Our office is a bit Don’t Ask Don’t Tell. I can’t stand it. I don’t mean this officially but there is a culture that gays and some people with differing political opinions from the bosses keep quiet. This bothers me. Do you think I should consider quitting for my principles in this markets? Gag Ordered

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Dear Gag Ordered,

Interesting way to pose your question, Gag Ordered. If your bosses’ opinions are so strong as to be openly culturized, I would think that this isn’t a new phenomenon and either you just raised your head out of the sand to notice it (or were called out on the mat personally), or that your own sense of priorities has been awakened possibly for the first time in your life. Therefore, I don’t think it matters what we think regarding your employer’s practices or the state of the economy, but rather how you feel about whatever real issue concerns you so much. If it truly is about a political or sexual orientation matter, that’s one thing. If it is about your new awakening and sensitization to your own intolerance for repression, dishonesty or emotional lying, that is an entirely different (and larger) thing that has little to nothing to do with this or any job market. Weigh your priorities (by definition, your bills are already on that scale), be discerning not overwhelmed.

Tibi ipsi esto fidelis (To thine own self be true),

BadWitch

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Dear Gag Ordered,

I can understand wanting a work environment with like minded people, but let’s not be crazy.

I mean, I get your ire and the feeling you just can’t take it anymore. However, practicality should win out. If you are unhappy, start to look for a new job in a more tolerant, liberal company, but until you have a new job, sit down, shut up and keep rolling. If nothing else, appreciate that Right-wing oppressors are paying for the rent and lifestyles of their undercover left wing liberals, gay and atheist employees. That’s karma.

Also, remember, you work at this company to support the mission, to gain wisdom and experience and to further your career. Use it. Do so. At the same time, explore companies known for liberal leaning. Check out Top Companies to work for and find companies that align mission beyond the web page to day to day interactions and decent treatment of employees.

I know it can be difficult to seemingly put your morals and your heart on the shelf from 9-5 everyday, but again, remember the karma. Takes most of the sting out of it.

Happy job hunting. The right place is out there for you somewhere. Just be sure you have a safe place to land before you jump. For your own peace of mind.

Good luck,

GoodWitch

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Image: istockphoto/Kutay Tanir

Juicy Relationship Coaching for Leaders and Individuals.

Mondays money, work, purpose dilemmas. Thursdays family, relationships, love dramedy. Send your brewing questions on how to thrive—not just survive— modern life to: coaching@stillsitting.net.

© 2009-2017 ManifestGroup. All rights reserved.

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Mean Girls, Forgiveness & Rising Above

Ever notice, just when you feel you’ve accomplished a thing you were working on..in comes some bad bitch of a situation to test you? Mmmm mmm mm.   — BadWitch

Readers Are Spellbound & Perplexed…

Dear GWBW — A woman who was very mean…to me was transferred but now after a year and a half is returning to our branch. Now I’m her boss. I have to admit how hard it is for me to deal fairly with her when small things come up I have to mediate or manage. It’s funny how the big things are easier for me to stay cool with her about. I worked hard for this title and I need ideas not to blow my stack at this biotch over the little things, can you help? — Big & Small

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Dear Big & Small,

The best business advice was given to me as a 17-year old freshman doing a class interview with a professional broadcaster in a major market. In touring me around the station, she pointed at a fishbowl office set high, front and center overseeing the entire floor. “See that woman? I’m so glad I was nice to her when she was the receptionist, because now she’s my boss.” Instantly I understood that it wasn’t about having the right-butt-to-kiss instincts, but to evenly and consistently be kind and professional to everyone (and thereby, be a professional myself) I encountered in the workplace. I really took that to heart, and I’d like to think that I conduct myself that way to this day. I have seen firsthand the odd looks of some who think I am going to be a bitch, and then either the relief or continued discombobulation. But I’m clear about my motives, and that’s what counts. I am of the mind that no one – no matter their station in life — is better or lower than me, and vice versa. Now, Big & Small, I know this might sound Pollyana-ish of your ole BadWitch, but it’s not. I actually (if not naively) believe we are all connected. That everything (including: we do) is connected.

Work on overcoming your emotional issues around this woman’s bad behavior(s), de-program your hot buttons around people who dis you in the smallest, pettiest (coincidence?, you be the judge) ways and times, and own your own power – both the strength and weakness of it — and work on your own responses to deflate the hold and power you give her over you. It’s obvious someone thought you were better suited to manage than she was, so in one measurable way it appears you have more skills than her.

“If it’s not paradoxical, it’s not true.” — Shunryu Suzuki

Raising yourself up is a real promotion,

BadWitch

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Dear Big & Small,

Well. Clearly, it is you who have had the last laugh. After all, you’re her boss. Maybe it is time to let the past go and be smug and happy in the present. I’m not saying this woman EVER has to be considered your friends (puh-leaze!), but holding on to how she was may actually put your job in jeopardy.

Someone once said, “Unforgiveness is like drinking poison and expecting the other person to die.” Guess what, it doesn’t work that way. You are driving up your blood pressure and stressing yourself out over some woman who now works for you! Face it, stress is linked to obesity, diabetes, heart disease, immune dysfunction and more. You really willing to let this chick you don’t even like drive you up a few clothing sizes? Please, let it go.

In the present moment you may still be a smug—and, yes, it will feel THAT good. But let the old pain and hurt that make you want to blow up at this woman over slight things go. It can make you sick, fat and jobless if left to continue unchecked. And, apparently, you don’t think she’s worth all THAT, do you?

Follow this link to a post I wrote for OwningPink.com. At the bottom of the post is a link to an audio file of a guided visualization that can help you move on. Listen to it a few times. If you are still stressed at the sight of this woman after running this visualization, say, at least once a day for 5-7 days, I suggest buying the entire Less Stress, More Life program to find ways to better understand what is stressing you out, how to respond rather than react and how to find a calm, internal oasis even though she’s there to work with every day.

The truth is, she may have been mean to you, but now you have the power to change this situation. Use it…wisely.

Happy De-Stressing,

GoodWitch

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Juicy Relationship Coaching for Leaders and Individuals.

Mondays money, work, purpose dilemmas. Thursdays family, relationships, love dramedy. Send your brewing questions on how to thrive—not just survive— modern life to: coaching@stillsitting.net.

© 2009-2017 ManifestGroup. All rights reserved.

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Booster Shot: Team Building Fun

Not all team building activities need be forced, formal or make eyes roll. Having fun in the office together builds healthy bonding and productivity.  — BadWitch

Readers Are Spellbound & Perplexed…

Dear GWBW — What can I do to boost the morale of my team? I’m a supervisor who’s more hands-on with face time than our department manager who travels a lot and I know I can have her blessing if I present solid ideas. We actually have a pretty strong rapport but I want to keep them happy and engaged. Do you have any non-monetary ideas for a busy professional but not corporate environment.Booster Shot

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Dear Booster Shot,

I take your question seriously, but I think it’s cute. Make sure you do this more for your team’s morale than your own popularity and/or advancement, and whatever you do will be a sure-fire winner. The main suggestion I have for you is to put yourself in your team’s collective shoes and think like it does on most days. You know better than me what your professional environment is like and will/can tolerate, and more importantly…could use more of. So I say: make it fun, make it low-key and don’t over-think the thing — the more natural and spontaneous, the better. We used to improvise water bottle bowling with a random Nerf ball. We threw up a tape of something or other, spanning between a cubicle wall and the actual wall and limboed under it (be careful; those of us who participated were fit and not litigiously minded). Another of my offices consisted of several music lovers, so maybe something around a music trivia game would have been fun. Whatever we did, we did spontaneously, had a blast, and I never had to actually tell people (who only participated if they needed and wanted to) to get back to work, which they did willingly, refreshed, refocused and more productively than ever. After all that some people will need to hear this: yes, we booked multi-million dollars of business in this atmosphere. Occasional informal communal silliness can be a breath of fresh air especially in an office with windows that don’t open!

Group “hug,”

BadWitch

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Dear Booster Shot,

I love where your head is at! In this economy some managers completely forget the importance of boosting team morale for best product output. You have no idea how many people I’ve heard from who complain about bosses and managers threatening them, rather than inspiring best work.  Kudos to you!

OK, that said, answering your question, your attitude and wanting a warm, cooperative work environment has already gone a long way towards creating that environment. People can feel whether a manager is invested and willing to give back or not. Your willingness helps foster willingness in your employees.

Now, to keep that moving without capital investment, ask for feedback. Creative juice meetings designed for feedback on current projects or upcoming projects will help your staff to feel like valued members of the team. There is nothing worse than feeling like another meaningless cog in the wheel. When asked to participate with ideas and input on company projects, staff feel needed and important members of the team with something to offer. That is the best way to keep them invested.

Also, strangely enough food works wonders for making folks feel appreciated. I know, you want a no financial investment idea, but I gotta tell you, Friday morning bagels are a cost effective way to say, “You are appreciated.” It’s not something you need to do regularly, just a once in a while, “thanks for working so hard” gesture. And, further surprise, you’ll get much office gratitude for the food and the appreciation.

You know Booster Shot, I just have to say, you are doing a great job. Keep up the good work! (Felt good, right? Well, I meant it. Now pass that sentiment on to staff in the moment when they deserve it. They’ll feel it too.)

Mantra: My attitude affects work from the top down. If I am invested, appreciative and supportive of my staff, I inspire my staff to be invested, appreciative and supportive of  the team and our work environment.

Great job,

GoodWitch

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Juicy Relationship Coaching for Leaders and Individuals.

Mondays money, work, purpose dilemmas. Thursdays family, relationships, love dramedy. Send your brewing questions on how to thrive—not just survive— modern life to: coaching@stillsitting.net.

© 2009-2017 ManifestGroup. All rights reserved.

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Vacation Worry for Single Business Owner

Sometimes it’s not that you feel like you’re the only one doing everything, if you’re a single business owner, you really are. Is a vacation too much of a leap for a one-person service provider?  — BadWitch

Don’t forget! After this week, GWBW is taking a break all August. Please RSS or EM subscribe now so you don’t miss our return.

Readers Are Spellbound & Perplexed…

Dear GWBW — I’m a sole owner of an established service biz that does well, but when I go on vacation, I have to shut down for the week. This has been fine in the past, but with this crappy economy I’ve started to be more concerned about this and other coverage. Suggestions?Without a Plus One

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Dear Without a Plus One,

You worked hard to establish and grow your business, who you let fill-in for you is an important decision and shouldn’t be put off. It’s a bit like a lateral business succession. I suggest you start planning for. If you do a Big Picture, more-than-you-need-today sort of planning for your vacations or other absences, it will help you realize and/or recommit to your real vision, mission and values for your business, and the right person/people will make themselves obvious to you from within your field that I assume you are networking or otherwise working.

Chemistry counts. Once you’ve identified a person or two (try asking for recommendations, your industry’s features of movers and shakers, and related schools for candidates) you feel would be a good fill-in for you (similar ethics should be on the above list, as in not stealing your client), why don’t you try trading schedules/clients, and/or even working side-by-side (whatever this might look like in your unspecified service business) when you both can accommodate this, and when it doesn’t matter.

Now more than ever, when times are tough and you’re worried or more mindful of money, make sure to take a vacation (even a few long weekends count), give yourself a true break from thinking and being around the work. Refreshing and nurturing yourself is just as important an investment in your business as making the right choices for fill-ins.

Be smart, have more fun!

BadWitch

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Dear Without a Plus One,

Sounds like it’s time for you to weigh the pros and cons of hiring an assistant. What’s going to cost you more—payroll or week’s worth of income? Payroll or your ability to take a vacation or get sick without excessive worry.

Coverage for a business is about more than the lost week, actually. It’s about consistency for customers. If they know you’ll always be there, there is no need for them to look at one of your competitors for service. But, honestly being closed for a week may be just the leg up your competition needs to win some of your clients from you. Sure, you won’t lose all your steady customers, but some newbies may be won over by the competitions bells and whistles when you are not there to serve them at all.

Finding a good assistant means taking breaks when you need to without worry about shutting down the store. What kind of coverage do you have when you are sick? It is an investment, no doubt, but your hiring an employee may be just the thing to give you peace of mind so you can actually enjoy your vacation—sans worry.

Of course, you must be sure you hire the right person. Be sure they are competent, trustworthy and willing to accept a lower hourly salary. Family member or reliable friends may turn out to be the part-time employee you are seeking—or be able to suggest someone you can rely on.

Worry is a wasted emotion. I suggest looking for solutions. The answers are most likely much closer than you think.

Good luck,

GoodWitch

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Juicy Relationship Coaching for Leaders and Individuals.

Mondays money, work, purpose dilemmas. Thursdays family, relationships, love dramedy. Send your brewing questions on how to thrive—not just survive— modern life to: coaching@stillsitting.net.

© 2009-2017 ManifestGroup. No materials may be used without expressed written permission.


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