Ask a Manager speed round — Ask a Manager Jobearn

It’s part 2 of this year’s Ask a Manager speed round! (Part 1 was last month.) Until 4 pm ET today, I’ll be answering questions live (using some of the questions that were submitted but not answered in part 1).

Last month I answered 78 questions in two hours; we’ll see if I can match that today.

How to read answers live: Refresh the page to see new questions/answers. I’ll post new answers at the top as I go so you don’t have to scroll down to see the latest.

How to ask questions: I’m not taking new questions for this round — I received 750 questions in part 1 and only answered a fraction of them, so today is to answer more of the questions from part 1 that I didn’t get to originally.

2. Should I give my co-worker advice

I recently had a meeting with my manager and other 2 co-workers. At this meeting my much younger and new to the company co-worker expressed how bored she is, how slow things are, and have been since she got here. She came from another company doing a similar job but in a different setting. Think an urgent care nurse versus private clinic. My manager was trying to be sympathetic and supportive, but didn’t just honestly say that this is how things are in this practice, and they aren’t going to change. Should I have a talk with her and let her know that this is just how things are, and if she isn’t happy she should look for other opportunities? Or keep my mouth shut and do my job?

It sounds like it would be a kindness to let her know what to expect there. There’s some risk that if you have this talk, it could get back to your manager, so if that’s a concern I’d choose your framing with that in mind — i.e., maybe don’t suggest she job search, but do lay out for her a realistic picture of how things work there and what’s reasonable/isn’t reasonable to expect. (And yes, it’s BS that you have to think about whether to pull your punches, but I think you can convey the important stuff here regardless.)

1. Should I take away responsibilities from an employee because they seem to trigger anxiety/panic attacks?

One of my team members overseas a large team of people. He is amazing at his job! And the reason he is so amazing is that he is personally invested in every person on his team. Unfortunately, he is so invested that when things happen outside of his control, like schedule changes or people quitting, he gets anxious, even to the point of panic attacks.

Some aspects of our job are not going to change: we work in an industry with high turnover, so people are going to quit. But one thing I can change is to take responsibilities off of his plate that seem to cause more anxiety.

I hesitate to do this, because he is amazing at his job and I don’t want to undermine him. However, I want the best for him as a person; I don’t want him to be in a role that causes so much anxiety. However, I think if I asked him about this, he would balk at losing those responsibilities. But should I do it anyway, for what I see to be his own good? That seems to be a huge overreach in trying to solve someone else’s problems, but it is hard for me to see him get so anxious.

I don’t think you should take things off his plate if it’s just because it’s hard for you to see him get anxious. But I do think you should look at the impact on you/others/the workflow when he starts panicking — if it’s affecting you/others/the work, that’s a legitimate discussion to have with him.

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