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Shirking Responsibility

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


There is a new employee in our department who was spending huge amounts of time on personal calls. Our manager finally saw what she was up to and he told her to stop. Now she brings a cell phone and does the same thing, but claims it is her phone and she can make all the personal calls she wants. What do you think of this?
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I am head receptionist at a fairly large organization. There are security guards stationed near the reception desk, and some of these guards have been reported by part-time receptionists for talking excessively on the phone and for being away for long periods of time. After the guards are reprimanded by their department head, they do not speak to me (I did not report them) and the atmosphere is very unpleasant. Do you have any suggestions?
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How am I supposed to deal with an employee who keeps getting other people to do his work? He is friendly and likable, and the other employees want to help him, but this is interfering with their work and with coordination in the department. I have gone over the problems with him, but he keeps doing this.
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I work with 3 other administrative assistants who support 8 professionals. I get along well with them, and I am very good at what I do. The problem is that one of the other administrative assistants frequently gets behind and asks me to help her out. I have done so on many occasions, but this makes a huge amount of work for me, and it's been happening more and more lately. She is becoming a real problem for me.
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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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I sit across from an obnoxious kiss-up. She works hard when the boss is here, but leaves me with our shared work when he is out. I have had to confront this behavior a number of times. I am trying to avoid telling my boss how she behaves, but I have asked to change workstations. I think my boss may be mad at me. Now what?
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One of my employees has gotten very lazy lately, to the point that his work is not completed on time and the quality is slipping. This is a far cry from how he used to be. Is there a good way to handle this?
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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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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 have an employee in my department who is on more committees, task forces, and special projects than anyone I have ever seen. The problem is that she is rarely around when I need her, and her work is suffering. How do you work with someone like this?
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There are two sets of rules in this company. One set is for the owner's son, and the other set is for the rest of us. He comes in late, leaves early, does practically no work, and walks around like he is our boss. I enjoy my work and the people here, but none of us know what to do about this spoiled brat.
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I recently moved into supervision, and one of my employees works on a popular math puzzle in the newspaper before work and during her breaks. The problem is that she sometimes brings them to her cubicle and works on them when she should be doing her job. I told her not to do this, but she said she practically never brings them to her desk, but even if she does, they are beneficial for her thinking. How do I get this to stop?
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One of my employees seems to have many personal calls, but I am not sure. Whenever I walk into her office, she quickly hangs up. Sometimes it's her cell phone. If I ask about a call, she says it was business and got off quickly so I wouldn't have to wait. What do you think I should do?
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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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We are a small company, and I have a co-worker who is always late, frequently uses her cell phone and ipod when the owners are not here, and does not want to do special projects. We report to the same owners, and since she does not finish work on time, I end up doing all the reports. The owners are not aware of what she has been doing, and she is a relative of one of the ownerís close friends. Should I tell the owners what is going on?
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My manager is fairly new to the company, and a month ago he gave me a lengthy assignment and told me he needed it completed within six weeks. After a month of work, I told him I have a draft. He said that things had changed and he no longer needed it. How should I deal with this?
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I am five to ten minutes late to work just about every day. My manager gives me infinite grief over this and says I am not following company policy, but she overlooks the fact that I am a good worker. I try to get to work on time, but itís difficult. How can I get her to stop obsessing on this and look at the big picture?
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Several employees in my department and in departments that work with us have told me that one of my employees has been spending a great deal of time surfing the net. She never does this in my presence. I am concerned about disciplining her because of hearsay, but she has fallen behind on some of her projects, too. Should I just focus on that?
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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?
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One of our co-workers is getting married in the spring, and she has been spending huge amounts of time on the Internet and telephone planning her wedding. She is our friend, and we will probably be invited to the wedding, but it is difficult to keep covering for her. Her work is falling behind, and so is ours. What should we do?
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Whenever we meet with our manager to talk about questions or problems on the job, his reaction is always the same. He says, ďDeal with it,Ē and then goes back to whatever he was doing. We end up making mistakes and then getting reprimanded. What are we supposed to do?
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I have two employees that report to me, and they spend a lot of time socializing with each other. I donít want to be a mean manager, so I have approached them while they are talking and encouraged them to get back to work. However, they soon return to socializing. How can I correct this without being a mean manager?
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