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Teamwork

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


My department is very busy, and we use our copier all day. Employees from other departments use it because it is closer than the one assigned to them, and this causes delays for my staff. When I voiced concern to my manager, she accused me of hoarding the copier, and added that we are one company and everything can be used by everyone. Does that make sense?
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I just spent the better part of a day at a team-building session, and I thought it was a waste of time. Most of the time was directed at playing with toys and building things, and all I could think about was the real work that I needed to finish. At the end of the session, the trainer said a few words and that was it. What do you think of this?
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We have three tiers of sales, and one of the sales reps on the top tier has a bad attitude and is not a team player. When she receives any feedback she feels is negative, she becomes angry and refuses to accept it. We would like your suggestions on how to work on changing her attitude.
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We work closely with another department, but their supervisor is creating difficulties for us. Several employees in our department agreed to mention this to our manager in our next meeting, but when I brought up the problem, our manager disagreed with me. Once this occurred, none of my fellow employees supported me or said one thing about her. I feel totally betrayed and am unsure what to do now.
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My computer crashed again, and now I have to call down to the IT specialist to come to my office and bring it back to life. I don't like dealing with him because he is surly and condescending. It's like he takes pride in making all of us feel like fools. What should we do?
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I was just given a notice that our whole department is supposed to go to some team-building sessions starting in a couple of weeks. I've heard that these sessions are filled with little games that have nothing to do with work. I have no interest in attending, and I am wondering if it's a problem for me to try to get out of it.
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There is talk that our company is going to conduct a major team-building program, culminating in having the employees do what is called a "fire walk." I understand this means that we will be walking on hot embers. Could this be true? If it is, several of us don't want any part of it.
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I am 28 and the youngest employee in my office of 35. All the others have more experience, yet I make the same money. Many of them have poor attitudes and don't put forth much effort. They treat me as a threat and make bad remarks about me. I do not know if I should ignore the comments of these slackers, confront them, or go to my boss. What's a rookie to do?
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I work for a law firm and have to deal with a bipolar attorney who changes moods and is just plain difficult. He likes to be in control and will not let others work as a team. I have lost all respect for him. Is changing jobs the right thing to do?
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Five of us work in a satellite office, and we are rarely included in any of the social events in the home office that is only about 20 minutes away. We have asked to be included at birthdays, retirements, and such, but we are usually forgotten. How do we get them to remember us?
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I just started an intern job and I hate it. I am given all the low level garbage work, even though I am a college student. No one asks me for my advice, and all they do is order me around. I don't see how I will last all summer. Do you have any advice?
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It is like pulling teeth to get the supervisors in my department to work together. Last week, one of my employees told me that several supervisors who are married are having affairs with each other. I investigated and found the rumors are true. The affairs are happening after hours and on weekends. All of my employees are aware of this, and it is no wonder I cannot get any teamwork going. Can I approach these supervisors and let them know of the problems that are following them to work?
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How should I deal with an employee who always tattles? Whenever his co-workers even come close to doing something questionable, he rushes to my office to tell me. I appreciate his concern, but I don't appreciate his interruptions. How do I get him to focus more on his own work?
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I manage a department where there is an otherwise productive employee who keeps dropping names. It's driving everyone who works with her crazy, and she doesn't realize that they're laughing at her. I have broached the subject with her, but she does not pick up the hint.
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Part of my job is to do administrative work that is needed by employees in other departments. When the work is done, I send it to them. There is a manager in one of these departments that sends me email every other day asking if I am done yet. I cannot stand seeing these emails from her, but I politely respond that the work is in progress and I'll send it when I'm done. How can I stop her from sending these annoying messages?
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I am on a committee with two other employees, and we are supposed to review and report on certain company processes that deal with new customers. The problem is that my two co-workers are buddies, and they exclude me from practically all of the discussions. I know I can make a valuable contribution, and I'm very annoyed about this. What can I do?
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It is like pulling teeth to get the supervisors in my department to work together. Last week, one of my employees told me that several supervisors who are married are having affairs with each other. I investigated and found the rumors are true. The affairs are happening after hours and on weekends. All of my employees are aware of this, and it is no wonder I cannot get any teamwork going. Can I approach these supervisors and let them know of the problems that are following them to work?
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I recently transferred into another department, and the manager and some of her pals keep telling the same old stories and referring to the same old in-jokes. You would think they'd tire of this, but they don't. Is there anything I can do to fit in?
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We have an employee who walks around with a scowl on his face and a chip on his shoulder. The staff complains about him, but everyone knows he is one of our most knowledgeable employees. We have talked to him about his attitude, but he looks at us as if we have the problem. How do we deal with him?
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There is a support staff member who is supposed to provide me with assistance as needed. She is very wealthy and is working to alleviate her boredom. She is disliked by most of the staff. She is uncooperative, discourteous, ignores me, shows anger toward me, refuses assignments, and performs personal items at work. She has been "sat down" with management, but to little avail. The general manager values her because she collects rent from tenants with some success. What can I do to better the situation?
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The company where I work had a "no husband and wife policy" until recently. Now we are having many problems with the first married couple in our area. They defend each other, do each other's work, and talk about their relationship incessantly. Many of us have complained to management, but we are told that human resources allows married couples to work in the same area. What do you think?
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Our company has many social gatherings and parties during work hours, and people from just about every job level attend. I am a friendly and sociable person, but I have a lot to do and I usually skip these events. The other day, my manager told me that I should stop being so aloof and come to more of them. I'll go because she wants me to, but I think it's ridiculous. What do you think?
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What do you do when one person works harder and faster at busy times, and a second person throws up his hands and demands help? This means that the first person ends up doing all of his own work and part of the second person's too. There is supposed to be teamwork, but the concept of teamwork seems to assume that employees are identical in skills, judgment, and work ethic. It also absolves management of a lot of responsibility because problems can be blamed on lack of teamwork. Please explain.
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I work in an office with approximately 80 employees. I enjoy what I do and I am a hard worker. Another quality I have is minding my own business, no gossiping, no chit-chatting, and no spreading of rumors. I believe some employees perceive this as being stuck-up or anti-social. Is it wrong to mind my own business, or should I be more sociable and outgoing? Outside of the workplace, I am very outgoing.
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We have two co-workers who have a bad attitude. They are loud, sarcastic, and sound like they are always mad at you. They look for something wrong, and they usually target people who are new on the job. I have to deal with them every morning. I have talked to my supervisor and manager about them, and they speak to these individuals, but after a few days they are back to their threatening ways. What can you suggest?
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In our company, we have a small group of employees. One of our co-workers, a sales rep, has extra long conversations with friends and customers. My co-workers have noticed this and are beginning to complain. How can we minimize the talk time without offending the sales rep?
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I need regular information from the business office, but it is always a battle to get anything from them. I call them, e-mail them, and visit them, and I am able to gradually get what I need, but this is a big waste of time. How do I get them to do their job?
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I recently joined this company and found it to be very competitive. People are quick to focus on your failures or shortcomings in front of others, especially in front of management. There is no real teamwork, since people are always trying to make themselves look good and others look bad. Is there a way to change this?
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I have a co-worker who is critical of my work, but instead of coming to me, he goes directly to our boss. The two of them are buddies, and I get nothing but grief from my boss as a result of this co-worker's comments. How should I deal with this?
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I am fairly new here, and my job is okay, but people here seem to take pleasure when others fail. They are always looking for ways to make themselves look better in the eyes of management, and make others look worse. I am very uncomfortable with all of this. What's the best thing to do?
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I work with a smooth co-worker who is in very tight with our manager. When work gets assigned, this co-worker does whatever he wants and pushes most of his junk work on me. If I try to push it back, he informs our manager and I end up looking like I am not a team player. This co-worker has convinced our manager that he is always right. What can I do?
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I recently changed jobs and things were going well except for the fact that the guys in the office pick on and harass the new guy, me. I have repeatedly asked them to stop. I talked to my boss and he told them to stop, but now they are ignoring and excluding me. My boss says this is their way of backing off. I didn't do anything to deserve this treatment. What should I do?
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I work in a bank, and some of the other women I work with claim that I flirt with the male customers. I'm friendly to all the customers, and I resent being called a flirt. How can I change this false image of me?
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Most of the departments under me work well together, but there are two that do not get along. I have worked with the department managers on this problem, but to no avail. We have brought these employees together specifically to improve their working relationship, but all they do is bicker. How do we get them to work as a team?
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Two of my co-workers do not get along, and whenever our manager is out, which happens often, they start arguing. I don't want to be branded as a person who runs to the manager whenever there is a problem, but this situation is upsetting everyone in the office. What should I do?
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There is a new employee in our work group who is smart, efficient, and friendly. Most of the people I work with want nothing to do with her, but I like her. I don't want to alienate my co-workers, but I refuse to ignore her. Is there a way to reconcile this?
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One of my fellow managers charged into my office and started ranting and raving about how one of my employees made some mistakes and caused his employees to be late on our joint project. I barked back at him, and I knew immediately that was a mistake. What is the best way to handle this type of situation?
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For the past year, I have been working in a small office with one other person. We worked well together until two months ago when a new employee was brought on to join us. She befriended my co-worker, and now it's the two of them against me. I am upset with both of them, and I'm not sure what to do now.
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I have been having difficulties with one of my employees, and I met with her on several occasions to talk about her productivity, cooperation, and attitude. I don't want to write her up because I would rather motivate her more positively than negatively. What can you suggest?
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I left my previous employer two years ago because my work was within my area of expertise, but not in my area of interest. My current job started out with work that I enjoy, but now most of my assignments are just like the awful assignments on my previous job. This company emphasizes being a team player, and if I say anything, I could create problems for myself. What should I do?
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We have an employee who is very competent but very arrogant. He does a good job in outside sales, but he has alienated just about everyone who works here. What is the best way to handle this situation?
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I work with an individual who has a chip on his shoulder. He can go all day and not talk to the four of us who share an office with him. If he does speak to us, it is with an arrogant tone. Is there anything we should say, or just keep ignoring him?
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All of us work hard, but there is one person in our department who is just plain lazy. Her work is sloppy, she is late on everything, and she causes the rest of us to fall behind. Our manager says we should take care of this ourselves, but we have met with her, and she has made no effort to improve. What should we do now?
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Several of the people I work with recently started going out after work for some socializing that can take up much of the evening. I have family commitments, so I don't join them. Now it seems that all they talk about is what they did the night before. I don't like it, and I'm not sure what to do.
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I try to volunteer for as much work and as many committees as I possible can. I enjoy doing this type of work, and I know it helps improve my marketability. Several of my fellow employees have said that I am doing this just to get in good with management, and now they hardly ever talk to me. Is there a way to deal with this?
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What do you do about a co-worker who is constantly reporting to the boss about the poor performance or behavior of the other employees? These "reports" range from exaggerations to outright lies. This person is the boss's buddy, and that makes it very hard for the employees to defend themselves.
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I'm very new with this company. Around noon, I saw a couple of guys from my department heading out for lunch and I asked if I could join them. They seemed okay with that, but during the lunch they did not say one word to me. They only talked about things they had done together in the past. I was totally excluded and felt very foolish. Should I say something to them about their rudeness?
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I have an new coworker. Since she has been working with us she has done the following:Threw keys at another coworker because she had to work 30 minutes more than she was scheduled. Left her keys out where other people had access to confidential information and cash.Force balanced, left items out unlocked overnight.Lied about several things. Every time she is approached by management she turns the tables saying we don't like her, we act like we don't want to help her and we talk to her in a mean way.She has been treated the same as everyone else and doesn't complain unless she is approached by management about something she has done.Our local management seems to not be addressing the fact that she is doing this but questions us on how we speak to her.
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For the past 3/4 months I have been having issues with a new lady at the office, we used to be friends and without any falling out or fight just drifted apart. I noticed this and to avoid any negativity I addressed this with her, I thought everything was fine. About a month after this discussion I started noticing that she 'forgot' discussions we had had, to the point where I lost my temper (I apologized to everyone the next day). Her excuse was that nothing was 'formalized' in email. While we have always been a very informal workplace I have attempted to 'formalize' all my arrangements from then on. She has now bonded with another lady at the office, to the point that even the upper management is commenting on the fact that they can't pee without each other. It seems that the 2 of them are purposefully excluding me from conversations about projects that I am in charge of, and last week she submitted formal documentation about a project that I participated in without listing me on it at all. I found these documents in the printer room of the office. I know if I confront her about it she will have 'forgotten'. She leaves me to pick up projects that she 'just doesn't have time for' but barely puts in 6 hours a day at the office. I have spoke to my direct manager about this, and she is sympathetic, but seems to be unable to do anything. Our line manager is aware of the situation and offered to step in, but I am hesitant to involve him in something so petty - I am afraid that it will damage my reputation. I don't know what to do any more, the situation is so tense that my health is starting to suffer. I am 10 years her junior and more valuable to the company, if it is jealousy what can I do? Should I escalate this further? I love my job but am seriously considering packing my bags if this continues. Please help!
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