Posts by Al Switzler

The Silent Spouse

During the month of July, we publish “best of” content. The following article was first published on February 2, 2005. Dear Crucial Skills, Whenever my husband and I get into a conversation that he doesn’t want to continue, he will resort to a comment like, “You always have to have things your way,” and will refuse …

Read response
Q&A: Family Vacations—Putting R&R Back on the Agenda

A group of my family and friends is flying to a wonderful resort for a family wedding. Everyone usually gets along, but when we travel together, one family member can be the deal breaker! She can be demanding and outspoken. Because I am a retired psychiatric nurse, I am usually called upon to help settle situations with her. I’m happy to help, but this is my holiday too. What can I do so that I can also relax?

Q&A: Above and Beyond? How to Deal with a Strong-willed Employee

Dear Crucial Skills,

I manage a small technical team. One particular member of my team is a seasoned high performer who is very strong-willed. This person enjoys being the “hero” in the customer’s eyes by sometimes intentionally making commitments that lead to unnecessary and excessive overtime. Because of exempt status, this person is not eligible for overtime compensation and the company has no comp time policy. The employee has expressed an opinion of entitlement to compensation for this overtime, especially since the work brings in significant revenue directly to the company. This has put me, as his manager, in an uncomfortable and awkward position when I have had to address the issue. Despite repeated requests to stop this behavior, the employee persists in making commitments “for the good of the customer” even though we have told the employee we cannot provide compensation for overtime work. How should I deal with this?

How to Work With a Chatty Cathy

Several of my coworkers sit and face each other in the cubicles next door to me. They’re good friends and it seems, especially lately during our slow season, that they spend the majority of the day chatting about anything and everything. Most mornings, the first hours are nothing but chatter. It’s terribly distracting. I’ve tried to plug in my earphones and listen to music to help me focus but it doesn’t drown out the noise. Any tips on asking the “chattaholics” to turn it down and minimize the disruptive discussion without seeming rude or snobby?

Stuck Between Friendship and a Lie

How can I graciously decline giving a job recommendation for a former coworker of more than fifteen years ago? I did not supervise this person and have mixed feelings about his job performance. Because we had to work together, I strove to maintain a positive working relationship. I am not certain, but I think he left my current employer under pressure, although I do not believe he was actually fired. I also suspect that my current supervisor has a negative view of this individual. What should I say to my former colleague?

Helping Your Child with Addiction

Our twenty-year-old son has unfortunately been using prescription drugs for some time now. He came to me and my wife for help, and we immediately placed him in a well respected center for the twenty-one-day medical detoxification and rehab program. He went willingly and seemed to learn quite a bit about the entire rehab process and what was required of him in his near future. Although he got clean, we suspect he is still not equipped with the skills to stay that way. We would like to apply the model in Change Anything to help him stay clean and live a happy, productive life. Here are our questions: Do we apply the model in a certain sequence or all at once? Are there sources of influence that need to come before or after another source? Should he help construct activities within each source or should we create them before we present anything to him? What are some known best practices when applying the model to this problem?

Posts navigation

<1 2 3 4 8>