DEAR HARRIETTE: Recently, I was promoted to a supervisory position at my job of five years. I am excited to have this new position, and I really needed the pay raise!
I will be supervising a staff of eight people, some of whom have been at this job many years longer than me. Already, rumors have been circulating around the office about my ability to do the job. Some people have said that I'm too young and inexperienced and that they don't want to work for me.
How do I get past all of this negativity? How do I squash the rumors, some of which may not even be true? And how do I appeal to my new staff? -- Insecure, Laredo, Texas
DEAR INSECURE: Take a step back and remember why you were promoted. Literally write down your assets as they relate to this job. What are you good at? Why were you hired? What skills do you have that qualify you for this position? Who are your allies at the job? Who are the naysayers?
You cannot control rumors, nor can you squash people's feelings regarding your youth. Instead, you can step into your role and be as prepared as possible to fulfill the duties before you.
As a supervisor, part of your job will be to inspire your team to do excellent work. Take the time in the first week to meet one-on-one with each of your staff members. Learn about their roles and responsibilities. Ask them what works well with their job and what may be a challenge. Make a connection with your employees. This will help to dispel any core concerns they may have about your interest in working with them.
When a new boss comes in, it's common for the staff to be skittish. Walk with confidence and compassion. Tell your team that you want to work together. Establish an open-door policy so they know you want to hear their ideas and concerns.
DEAR HARRIETTE: My best friend is about to celebrate her 20th anniversary of marriage. She is totally miserable, and her husband is totally happy -- or so he says. He wants to throw a big party to celebrate, and she absolutely does not want to do that. She's afraid that if she declines, she will hurt his feelings. She's also afraid that if she says "no," he will want to get into what's wrong. She doesn't want to talk about her unhappy feelings. How can I support her? -- Unhappy Anniversary, Chicago
DEAR UNHAPPY ANNIVERSARY: Gently encourage your friend to talk to her husband about her truth. She may not feel particularly courageous right now, but there really is no time like the present.
Faking it at a party is surely not the answer. Remaining silent isn't, either. Ask her if she honestly wants to go 20 more years in misery.