DEAR HARRIETTE: I am the boss of a small company that employs five people. Since it is such a small business, each person's role is vital to make the company run efficiently. While one would think that this environment would motivate my staff to work hard, I think that our close relationships have caused them to become lazy.
I was walking through the office, and I noticed that a majority of the employees were on Facebook, Twitter or online shopping sites. A lot of the tasks I have assigned are handed in late or not up to the standard I expect.
This is not how I expect my employees to spend their time, but I don't know how to tell them this. I am afraid that they are taking advantage of me, and they think they can get away with anything. How do I tell them this is not the case? -- Cool Boss, Chicago
DEAR COOL BOSS: You have to re-establish your authority in your company and motivate your staff to work hard. Call a staff meeting, and talk about the state of your business. Do your best to paint a picture of the good news, whatever is working in the company. If you can highlight projects that staff members have completed successfully, do so. If possible, select something about each person so that they all shine.
Then, point out that you have noticed something about their behavior that is not supportive of success. Tell your staff that you have noticed that they are accessing social media and shopping online when they should be doing their jobs. Productivity is essential for a healthy workplace. Let them know that you need them to focus on their responsibilities while they are at work.
If necessary, bring in a tech person who can block access to social media sites. Before taking that measure, ask for their compliance, and keep watching to see how they respond.
DEAR HARRIETTE: My boyfriend is extremely jealous and loves to show off. If I talk to another guy, he will get upset and threaten to break up with me. Yet when he talks to another girl, he purposely makes sure that I see him doing so, and then asks me if I am jealous. I am not a jealous person, so I tell him no. This makes him angry, and he threatens to break up with me. He says that I do not love him.
It seems obvious that I should break up with him, but there are some times when he is so sweet and loving that I completely forget about his jealous side. Any suggestions? -- Confused, Rochester, N.Y.
DEAR CONFUSED: Cut your losses before he becomes dangerous. Your boyfriend sounds like he has an unhealthy understanding of the way that relationships should work. You should be free to talk with whomever you want without fear of upsetting him. Chances are he will not change. You deserve to have a healthier, safer relationship. Leave him so that you have room to meet someone better suited to you.