Your Office Coach: Let boss see subordinate’s poor work

Your Office Coach: Offensive humor is no laughing matter

After asking my boss for additional help, I was thrilled when he
hired a young man in his early 20s. My excitement was short-lived,
however, because


is both inexperienced and lazy.

After asking my boss for additional help, I was thrilled when he hired a young man in his early 20s. My excitement was short-lived, however, because “Jeff” is both inexperienced and lazy. He arrives late, does sloppy work, texts his friends constantly and occasionally falls asleep. When I gave him a project he didn’t want to do, he called in sick.

Even though I’m the office manager, Jeff reports directly to my boss. I have all the responsibility for his work, but no authority over him. I got tired of nagging and correcting his errors, so now I’m doing most of his work myself.

After other employees began complaining, I finally mentioned Jeff’s behavior to my boss. But he didn’t believe a word I said. What do I do now?


Your boss doesn’t believe you because Jeff’s incompetence hasn’t caused him any pain. By doing the work yourself, you’ve kept everything running smoothly. Instead of continuing to cover for this young slacker, you must allow your manager to experience his ineptitude firsthand.

Your boss is Jeff’s supervisor, so step back and let him supervise. Stop taking over Jeff’s tasks and fixing his mistakes. When people complain, have them contact your boss directly. And if Jeff falls asleep, don’t wake him up. Eventually, your manager will begin to see the light.

If you are asked to help solve the problem, let your boss know that you must have more authority. For example: “If you want me to monitor Jeff’s performance, then you need to tell him that I’m supervising his work. Otherwise, he will ignore everything I say.”

Once Jeff begins to cause problems for your manager, it won’t be long before either his performance improves or he completely self-destructs.


I’m trying hard to make a good impression in my new job. My supervisor says positive things about my work, and I get along well with my team members. However, I’m concerned about the signals I’m getting from upper management.

When I pass certain senior managers in the hall, they walk right by me and avoid eye contact. Sometimes they exhibit aggressive body language, such as failing to adjust their walk path when approaching me. We’ve been introduced, so their lack of common courtesy seems strange.

I’m not sure how to interpret their actions or how to react without seeming either too aloof or too forward. What do you think?


Odds are that your senior managers are just being senior managers. Although their behavior is both impolite and demotivating, it’s probably not personal. Unfortunately, I hear many complaints about executives who walk by people without speaking. They apparently don’t realize that this makes them seem like arrogant jerks.

When you encounter these higher-ups in the hall, just smile and say hello. If they fail to respond, don’t worry. They may be preoccupied with important problems or simply lost in thought. Either way, their rudeness says more about them than it does about you.

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