Get advice on how to deal with jerks at work Check out the book 'Jerks At Work' and other titles by Ken Lloyd Ph.D. Return to the JerksAtWork.com homepage Learn more about Ken Lloyd, Ph.D. Submit a question to Ken Lloyd, Ph.D.
 

Decision Making

Here are the questions filed under this category. To read Ken's advice on any item, click on the link "Read Ken's Answer."


Sometimes employees in our department bring in home-cooked food so we can share more about our customs and cultures. One of my co-workers brought in a dish that was filled with spices and vegetables that I cannot stand. When I would not eat it, there were a few comments about my being prejudiced. Nothing could be further from the truth. What do I do?
Read Ken's Answer

Our manager called a meeting to get our suggestions on plans for our department. As the meeting progressed, it became clear that our input meant nothing and the plans were already finalized. I was annoyed with the waste of time, and I don't want to sit through more meetings like this. What can I do?
Read Ken's Answer

My manager ignores most of my email. I send him messages three or four times, and sometimes there still is no response. He is causing my work to suffer, and I want to know how to get him to respond.
Read Ken's Answer

I recently hired a store manager, and I just learned that she rides a motorcycle to work. I don't think this is the right image for our company, and I am concerned about the example she may be setting for the rest of the staff. When she came to the interview, she arrived in a car, and this issue never came up. How do I approach it now?
Read Ken's Answer

I am a successful female manager in the Logistics Department, and upper management asked me to manage the entire department. My boss told me that the new hire for my current position accepted it on the condition that he and I were to be of equal title. My boss added that the new hire had no problem reporting to a Department Manager until he discovered that it would be a female. I am upset and wonder if I should voice my concern to my boss or upper management. Am I making an issue out of nothing?
Read Ken's Answer

Our new manager told us several times that she believes in shared decision making and we are an important part of the process. Now that she's been here for a month, it's apparent she has to control everything. Is there a way to get her to change?
Read Ken's Answer

I have four very good employees in my department and I just received word from management that I have to lay one off. I need all of them, but management says "no." How do I figure out who to let go?
Read Ken's Answer

I enjoy my work and was recently offered a promotion. I told my boss I wanted to think about the offer. After the weekend, he called me and told me that if I have to think this much about it, then I shouldn't be promoted, so he pulled the offer. I'm glad it came out this way, but I wonder what you think of this treatment.
Read Ken's Answer

I am going to fire my brother-in-law. He is in a senior position and is way over his head. We have spoken about the situation often, and there are no viable positions for him here. I am not worried about how he will handle the termination, but I fear that his wife, my sister, will be very upset. How do I deal with her?
Read Ken's Answer

Our company is under a stringent cost reduction program that includes layoffs, but in spite of this, some office areas are being redecorated. If the company is in such a financial pinch, why would they be doing this?
Read Ken's Answer

I have job offers for similar positions from two very different companies. One is a large and well-established firm that offers a career path, stability, training, and great benefits. The other is not quite a start-up, but it is less structured, less organized, and yet offers more variety, more challenge, more potential opportunity, and more risk. I keep changing my mind, and I don't know which one to take. Do you have any suggestions?
Read Ken's Answer

I have interviewed several people for an important position here, but I have not found a good match. I was not satisfied with the last applicant, but after my manager looked at his resume, he told me that I should seriously consider hiring him. I think that would be a mistake, but I don't want to cross my manager. What do you think?
Read Ken's Answer

We are in the process of hiring several new managers. One of the people who are conducting interviews recently said at a meeting that he can tell in a minute if a person has what it takes to be a manager. Several of us told him about the problems and risks that accompany his thinking, and he agreed to keep an open mind. Is there anything else we should be doing in this situation?
Read Ken's Answer

I am an independent contractor trying to land an important project with one company for the past 9 months. Most of my correspondence is by e-mail, and the person I am dealing with keeps saying that they are almost ready to make a decision, but they need a few more weeks. I've met with him and everything is great, and then it's back to e-mails and delays. Do you have any ideas?
Read Ken's Answer

There is a very popular employee in my department. She is well-liked by her fellow employees and by many of my peers in management. The problem is her work. It is often sloppy and late, and she does not seem concerned about it. I have talked to her about this, but she seems to think that she is so well-liked that nothing can happen to her. I am ready to terminate her, but I am concerned about the backlash against me. Any suggestions?
Read Ken's Answer

I work on the sales floor, and I had an excellent record here until a problem occurred with a very difficult customer last week. He was nasty and insulting, and I was not very nice in response. He wrote a letter to my manager and to the owner of the company complaining about me, and my manager read the riot act to me. Does this seem fair?
Read Ken's Answer

I've been with this company for about a year, and I enjoy most of the work. My problem is that the people I work with talk about work and nothing else. Some humor or casual conversation would be nice, but it doesn't happen. This place is no fun, and I am wondering if that is enough reason to leave.
Read Ken's Answer

My boss stopped by my apartment and I was going to drive him to a meeting. While he was waiting for me, he noticed that a stapler on my desk came from the office. I told him immediately that it belongs to the company and I had brought it home for a couple of days and planned to return it. He shook his head and now seems upset with me. What do I do?
Read Ken's Answer

Our new manager gives me the creeps. I don't know what it is about him, but as soon as I met him, I felt my skin crawl. I can't identify anything in particular that he did, but I just don't like being around him. I like my job, but the whole place has really changed for me because of him. What can you suggest?
Read Ken's Answer

I thought I had a good working relationship with one of the people in my department, and I was shocked to learn that she was upset with me and complained to my manager. My manager then proceeded to call me and tell me off. I think he was wrong. What should I do?
Read Ken's Answer

Our company used to put out donuts for the employees, and most of us thought these were great snacks. About a month ago, management suddenly switched to fresh fruits. We want the donuts back. What should we do?
Read Ken's Answer

For some reason, our company just changed the logo design and colors, and most of us agree that it is ugly. There was no discussion with any employees, and the decision was made by two or three senior people. Our manager has made it clear that this decision is final. Is there anything we can do or say?
Read Ken's Answer

I am an assistant construction manager, and I was passed up on a promotion. They told me that the other person was in the right place at the right time, and I would be given a raise since there was no room for another promotion. It has been six weeks, and I still have not received it. I was told it is on the president's desk. How long should I wait?
Read Ken's Answer

I am a volunteer coach for my ten-year-old son's soccer team, and I drafted my boss's son onto the team. I thought it would be fun, but it's a disaster. My boss keeps telling me where to play him and not to take him out. If I follow what he says, it's not fair to the other children, but if I don't, this might cause trouble at work. What do you suggest?
Read Ken's Answer

I enjoy working for this company, and management just offered me a very good job opportunity. The problem is that it is in a different state, and I do not want to move. I have family and friends here, and I have visited the location, spent time in the office and area, and I don't want to be there. How much of a problem is it when employees reject this type of offer?
Read Ken's Answer

One of my friends at work recently signed up with a multi-level marketing organization and wants me to do likewise. The products seem fine, but my "gut feel" is that this is not for me. She keeps telling me to forget about "gut feel" and listen to the facts. The only reason I would join is that I don't want to lose a friend. What should I do?
Read Ken's Answer

I am a regional manager, and I am troubled by the performance of one of the branch managers who report to me. When I mentioned this to my manager, he told me to "step back" and let her run the branch. I don't think she's capable of doing so. What do you suggest?
Read Ken's Answer

My manager has suggested more than a few times that I promote one particular individual to a new position in my department. He says that she seems like an excellent employee, but she is not my first choice. How should I handle this?
Read Ken's Answer

As a manager myself, I was annoyed to learn that my manager filled an important position under me without including me in the process. When I complained, he told me that I should focus on my main work responsibilities and be thankful for his willingness to take the time to do the hiring. What should I do now?
Read Ken's Answer

I am a Department Head and my manager has been going around me and dealing directly with my employees. He gives them orders and assignments, and this is upsetting me and them. I asked him to stop, but he has not done so. I am not sure what to do now.
Read Ken's Answer

I am in a management position, and I report to a senior manager. Last week he told me that I am wasting too much time on one particular employee, and he told me to fire her. I believe she is making progress, and I don't want to terminate her. What do you suggest?
Read Ken's Answer

One of the people I work with is constantly telling me what to do. She does not have more expertise, and she and I are at the same job level. I have told her that I don't appreciate the orders, but she persists. Is there a better way to deal with her?
Read Ken's Answer

I have a bright and competent person who reports to me, and she shows much initiative on the job. The problem is that she infringes in my area. She calls meetings with other departments, makes decisions that should have my involvement, and is quick to tell senior management that she is on top of situations that are my responsibility. I don't want to curtail her initiative, but I don't like what is happening here. What do you suggest?
Read Ken's Answer

How do you deal with an employee who keeps saying, "You should have listened to me" every time I make a decision that does not turn out well. I listen to my employees, and I try to make the best decision at the time. How should I deal with him?
Read Ken's Answer

I have been screening applicants for a sales position, and I found one I really like. My administrative assistant met him before the interview and said she thinks he is a phony. I still think he is very qualified, but I do not want to ignore her comments. What should I do?
Read Ken's Answer

Is it possible for a manager to be too nice? Ours is very friendly and would do just about anything for us. If we make a mistake, he is patient and never gets upset. The problem is that some of the people in the department are taking advantage of him and bending the rules, and he does not realize it. He is too trusting. I'm wondering if there is a way to toughen him up.
Read Ken's Answer

I have an employee who deserves to be fired. His work is not very good, his attitude is often negative, and even his honesty is questionable. I have talked to him about the problems and documented his performance, but the problem is that I have never fired anyone and I don't feel good about putting someone out of a job. What can you suggest?
Read Ken's Answer

I was at lunch with a new employee in my department, and I noticed that when his entr»e arrived, he put salt on it, but did not taste it first to see if it needed any. I heard this is a sign of a person who does not carefully analyze new situations, but just jumps in and does what he did in the past. What do you think?
Read Ken's Answer

I am on a committee with three other managers, and we are analyzing customer service systems. In order to update the vice president of operations on our progress, we agreed that one of us would write a summary that would include comments from all of us. I had some important points that conflicted with those of the individual writing the summary, so he eliminated them and then emailed it. I am furious. What should I do?
Read Ken's Answer

My manager gave me some very important responsibilities on a major project. I have had to meet with managers all over the company, and they are now coming to me for decisions, and thatís the problem. I have no decision-making power. My manager is calling all of the shots, undoing things that I have done, and saying that all decisions are his. How am I supposed to work on this project?
Read Ken's Answer

I work in a company with about 150 employees, and one of my supervisors sent an email to all employees asking that we contribute to an overseas charity that is important to him. While the charity sounds like it is doing good things, several of us were put off by his approach. Since the request came from a supervisor, Iím not sure what I should do.
Read Ken's Answer

I have two employees who are doing an excellent job, and I can only promote one of them to a position that is now open. They are both qualified, and I fear that the one who does not get the promotion will leave. How do I figure out who to promote, and what should I do about whoever is not promoted?
Read Ken's Answer

I report to the Chief Operating Officer, and I recently met with a salesperson who is his nephew. I thought the sales presentation was poor, and we do not need his products. I wrote a letter informing him of this. He then contacted his uncle who held a meeting with the three of us, and now his uncle wants me to start using his products. I believe this is a mistake. What should I do?
Read Ken's Answer

I love my new job, but my executive director and our board are mired by indecision. I often struggle with getting clear direction despite pushing for answers. I have heard this is the way our non-profit has always operated, since our executive director has held this position for 30 years. He is a wonderful man, but he stalls and often ends up making last minute hasty choices. How can I have an impact on this grossly inefficient process?
Read Ken's Answer

My company is filled with people who yell and scream. If you donít yell, you are seen as weak or uncertain about what you are saying. I donít like working this way, and I am trying to stay calm and get people to stop yelling. I have been getting headaches almost every day, and I wonder if itís worth it. What do you think?
Read Ken's Answer

On a recent assignment from my manager, I took a different and creative approach, and I thought the final result was better than anticipated. My manager was upset and said he is paying me to do my job, and not paying me to think. I was shocked and wonder if I should leave.
Read Ken's Answer

We brought in a technology trainer on a trial basis to teach a group of our employees. The employeesí evaluations of the sessions were filled with positive comments. Several managers believe this warrants more of a commitment to continue this training, but I am not sure. What do you think?
Read Ken's Answer

When my manager asked me about the status of a project that I assigned to one of my employees, I found that my employee had not followed the procedures and left out a critical step. I thought this step was included when I checked up on the project last week. She suggested that I lie about the matter to my manager. I am shocked by her suggestion, and Iím uncertain about how to deal with her from this point. What do you suggest?
Read Ken's Answer

Our department manager was promoted, and the company replaced her with someone from the outside. At first, the new manager said we have an excellent department, and she would not be making any changes. That lasted for about a week. Now she has changed our assignments, moved us around, and put in new policies that donít make sense. What can we do?
Read Ken's Answer

I plan to promote one of my employees to a new position in my department. I have one individual who has been here for four years, and she expects the promotion. I have another employee who has been here for one year but is more qualified and does better work. The longer-term employee will be very upset if she does not get the promotion, and she can create many problems throughout the department. Who do you suggest I promote?
Read Ken's Answer

I plan to promote one of my employees to a new position in my department. I have one individual who has been here for four years, and she expects the promotion. I have another employee who has been here for one year but is more qualified and does better work. The longer-term employee will be very upset if she does not get the promotion, and she can create many problems throughout the department. Who do you suggest I promote?
Read Ken's Answer

Management puts out a spread of cookies and donuts every Friday. I have told my manager that it is not healthy to eat all this fat and sugar, and the company should put out fruits instead. My manager said this was tried in the past and the employees were not happy. What do you suggest?
Read Ken's Answer

I just finished interviewing an applicant who appears to have the skills for the job, but he kept asking questions throughout the interview. I tried to stop him, but he kept asking one after another, and now I donít have enough data to make a decision. Should I bring him back for a second interview?
Read Ken's Answer

We received a resume from an applicant whose background looks good for an entry level marketing position with our company. My concern is that she uses a very babyish nickname on her resume and cover letter. I think this is a sign of immaturity. Do you agree?
Read Ken's Answer

I have an employee who blames others whenever she makes a mistake. Even when there is no question that a problem developed because of her decisions, she will still point the finger at someone else. If I tell her she is wrong, she becomes defensive. How do you deal with someone like this?
Read Ken's Answer

I met with a sales representative who pitched a costly software program. I reviewed his materials and did not think the program would work here. A few months later, my manager told me that he met with this same representative and has decided to purchase the program. I believe it was unprofessional for the sales representative to go around me, and I am not pleased with my manager either. What should I do?
Read Ken's Answer

We have been having a hard time finding good applicants for an outbound sales position, and we disagree about one candidate. His work experience and training look good, and he presented himself well in the interview. The problem is that he has had seven jobs in the past five years. I say this should eliminate him from consideration, while other managers say this is not a problem. What do you think?
Read Ken's Answer

My manager just informed me that he hired a new person over our department. I thought I was in line for this position, but itís clear that I have been bypassed. I am furious and ready to quit. Any suggestions?
Read Ken's Answer