Periodically, questions are sent to me regarding various workplace issues, so I will post them with a response. Many times, these situations have been experienced by others or will present themselves to you at some point in the future; therefore, I hope these responses will provide guidance.
Venise: While traveling for my company with my manager, we went out for dinner and my manager had one too many drinks. He also held the keys to the rental car, so I had to remain at the bar with him late into the night, because I didn't have the rental car keys to drive back to the hotel. He is also my manager, so I didn't feel comfortable leaving him there. How could I have better managed this situation? Recommendation: First of all, I applaud you for your empathy and concern; however, you are not obligated to be your manager's designated driver each time you are on travel status with him. Also, your manager shouldn't be allowed to disrespect your right to leave the premises. You should have kindly asked for the rental car keys and suggested that your manager take a cab back to the hotel. The bartender serving him drinks should've done the same. Unfortunately, your manager erred in his judgement by drinking in excess in the presence of an employee; however, that situation may be a symptom of a greater problem. If you felt uncomfortable approaching your manager for the rental car keys, you could've kindly informed your manager that you're taking a cab back to the hotel. (Just request the company to reimburse you for the cost when filing your travel voucher). Before leaving, you could also ask the bartender to call a cab for your manager, so that he could safely return to the hotel.
Andrew: We have two new hires in our office, who are recent college graduates and who are employed in the workplace for the first time. Therefore, they are having a difficult time adjusting to the workplace culture when it comes to office etiquette and dress. They talk and text excessively on their smartphones and they still dress like they are in a college dorm. It is an embarassing situation in meetings and in the presence of our clients. I want to have a private conversation with them, but they are females and they may take my guidance and intent the wrong way. What should I do? Recommendation: I congratulate the young ladies for finding jobs and careers in a company while they are fresh out of college and I am pleased to know that your company is making an investment in young talent. Along with new hires is the need for orientation, training and mentoring. I certainly understand the gender concern, but I encourage you to take it a few steps further. You may want to consider having a conversation with their managers (especially if they report to a female manager), so that the subject can be initiated by the managerial chain. Or you may want to reach out to your Human Resources Department to ask, if the young ladies have been properly trained or can be referred to training classes that will assist them in transitioning from the college environment to the professional workplace environment. You may also want to solicit the assistance of one of your female peers to ask, if she would be willing to speak to the young new female hires and mentor them. Transitioning from an environment that you knew well for four or more years to an entirely different one is not an easy task. It's important that new hires have been oriented into their careers and the expectations of the company have been clearly shared with them. It's also vitally important that the company gives them an opportunity to be successful in their new careers by giving them the mentors and coaches necessary to navigate this new territory. I hope this guidance helps you in your next steps. PM