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Control Freaks

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


I report to the controller, and he gives me extremely detailed projects. If I do exactly what he says, he likes my work. In a recent project, I did some additional research and added an important section. He deleted all of it, and he has done this before. How do you work with someone like this?
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When my sales manager comes to town for his quarterly visit, we drive to many of my customers. The problem is that he insists that we listen to political talk-radio programs that I do not like. My manager is not open to discussions about turning off the radio. What can I do?
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I am in sales, and I have been very successful with my territory. The problem is that when my new sales manager comes into town, he likes to go on sales calls with me, but then he takes over. He starts talking and even tries to close, and I don't like this at all. He knows how I feel, but the problem goes on. Any suggestions?
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How do I deal with an employee who keeps bossing her co-workers? She has been given no responsibility to direct them, but she keeps telling them what to do. They complain about her often, and I have told her in so many words to stop being bossy, but that has not stopped her. What will?
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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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One of the employees who report to me asks question after question, to the point of disrupting meetings and general conversations. I have been patient with him and tried to help him become a better listener, but nothing works. Can you offer any help?
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Our new manager is very strict, and he said that prompt attendance at his staff meetings is essential. Then he added that if we are late, he will lock the door. We thought he was kidding, but when I arrived a few minutes late because I was on a business phone call, I was locked out. The only message from the manager was for me to get to the next meeting on time. How does this sound to you?
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Our manager pretends to be interested in our ideas, and she uses all of this management terminology, but in reality she wants everything done her way. She never admits a mistake, and if we succeed at something, she makes little comments telling us that she did it even better. How in the world do you deal with someone like this?
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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?
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I report to one of several managers-on-duty, and she yells at me and insists I do everything her way. Her boss, the general manager, gives me totally different directions. If I do what the general manager says, the manager-on-duty yells. My supervisor decided to quit because of the manager-on-duty. How do I deal with her?
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Several of us were sitting at lunch talking about salaries around here when our manager walked by, heard what we were talking about, and got all upset and said we will be disciplined if we continue. Can she do this?
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This used to be a wonderful company until the new owners took over. Their management style is harsh, controlling, and cheap. Many of my co-workers have bailed out, and I am thinking of leaving too. But, I have invested many years here and it is hard for me to think about going to a new company. Is there a way to demonstrate to the new owners that they are destroying the business?
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What can be done about a woman supervisor who makes crude remarks to one employee about another? This supervisor is not liked, as she is a total control freak.
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How do you deal with a manager who sounds friendly and interested in the employees' ideas, but underneath this facade insists that everything be done her way? She uses all sorts of fancy management language, and she talks about employee empowerment, but it is nothing more than talk.
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When I disagreed with my boss in the past, he would persist until I backed off. As long as I agree with him, we work well together. Now I hear myself saying things I don't even believe just to stay in his good graces. I am in mid-career, and I am wondering if this is what I want to be doing. Any suggestions?
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I was on a committee that is chaired by a senior manager, but I disagreed with several of his ideas. He insists on having everything his way, and now the committee is still meeting, but I am not invited. I liked the other people on it, and I would like to be on it again. How can I do this?
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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?
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After working here for a year, I had a performance review with my manager. At the end, I gave him a write-up of my goals for the coming year. He looked them over, set them aside, and said he makes the goals for his employees. He said he gets better goals by doing this. What do you think?
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My manager over-explains things to me. When he gives me an assignment, he asks me to repeat what he said, and then he keeps calling me and visiting me to make sure I'm doing it right. It's hard for me to work this way. How can I get him to stop?
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When my manager gives me assignments, he tells me about his expectations, and he gives me a hard copy. Then he usually says the same thing in a voicemail and email. I don't appreciate being treated like a child. However, I like the company and I like my manager, except for this. What should I do?
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I am a new manager here, and I was just informed that I am supposed to meet with my employees to discuss the goals that they have set for themselves for the coming year. I do not believe in this process. I am the one who sets goals for my employees because I know what is best for the company, while the employees are out for themselves. How can I get this point across?
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I travel about half of the time, and my manager occasionally accompanies me. When he does, he expects me to carry some of his bags. I have my belongings plus samples, and I do not appreciate having to carry his things too. How can I put a stop to this without upsetting him?
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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?
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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.
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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?
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I am an administrative assistant for a boss whom I cannot please. No matter what I do, he criticizes me. I listen carefully to what he wants, and then I do it, and he still says I did it wrong. When I tell him I followed his instructions, he tells me I did not understand what he was saying, but I did. I am at my wit's end. Can you suggest anything?
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We write reports for our manager and carefully follow her guidelines, but she rewrites our work, saying that we are not giving her high quality. We think our work is fine, and she just has this thing about rewriting whatever is given to her. What should we do?
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We report to an individual who gives the most simplistic instructions on every project. All of us have to listen to his explanation of every detail, and once he starts talking, he stops listening. We are a sharp group of employees, but he just doesn't get it. How can we get this to change?
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Several months ago, my manager asked me to lead a one-hour discussion for our salespeople. Nine of them attended, and so did my manager. After ten minutes, my manager took over and I was left standing in front like a fool. He just asked me to lead another discussion, and I am wondering if I can tell him how I felt about what he did in the first one.
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I have been interviewing applicants for a key position in my department, and I narrowed the choice down to two. They are both qualified, but the applicant I prefer is not the one my manager prefers. My manager said the choice is mine, but I should keep his preference in mind. What should I do?
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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?
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My boss likes to be copied on emails we send in our department. Often with mine, he will ďreply to all,Ē restate exactly what I just stated in my email, and then resend it to everyone who just received the message from me. I have politely told him that if there is email he would prefer to send out, he should please let me know so the recipients can avoid a double email, but he continues to restate and resend my email. How can I bring up the subject again?
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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.
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My manager has a habit of dropping into my office late in the day and giving me work that needs immediate attention. Iím sure some of this work can be given to me earlier, but he rarely does this. I cannot say ďno,Ē but what can I say?
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My supervisor constantly plays practical jokes on me, especially in front of others. Things are said about me in a playful way, but others donít know this person is playing around. I enjoy a good joke, but when I am trying to work it becomes hurtful and annoying. The other issue is that my supervisor is one of my closest friends. This makes it hard for me to say anything. What can I do?
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After receiving approval to hire an assistant manager, I narrowed the search down to two candidates, and one was definitely stronger than the other. My manager interviewed both, and when I told her who I wanted, she insisted that I hire the other. I did it, but I want to know your opinion of her action.
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I meet regularly with my employees to discuss our work, and I have one employee who withholds information from me. When my manager asks me about projects in her domain, I usually donít have all the information, so he calls her. When I ask her why she did not give me all the information in the first place, she says I did not ask for it. How should I deal with her?
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