Newspaper article Pittsburgh Post-Gazette (Pittsburgh, PA)

Assistant Needs to Improve Social Skills

Newspaper article Pittsburgh Post-Gazette (Pittsburgh, PA)

Assistant Needs to Improve Social Skills

Article excerpt

Q: Shortly after becoming a department head, I began hearing complaints about my executive assistant. From my perspective, "Gwen" is phenomenal. She is extremely organized, catches on quickly and is willing to tackle any task. Without her, our department would be much less effective.

Unfortunately, this is not the picture painted by the staff. Several of them have described Gwen as condescending and disrespectful. They say she criticizes their work and will sometimes just take over, even if the person doesn't want her help.

Gwen shouldn't be treating co-workers like underlings or incompetents. However, I'm not sure how to address the issue, because she will immediately know that someone complained. How should I bring this up?

A: Your assistant seems to be suffering from Queen Bee syndrome. This rather common disorder afflicts those who are the "right-hand person" for a higher-level manager. Typically, these are folks with high control needs who enjoy basking in the reflected power of their boss. …

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