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Educate assistant, don't scold

New team member needs to know boss made big exception.

Friday, January 11, 2013 - 12:01 am

Q.: My assistant has worked for me for less than a year. Because she's the newest member of our team, she doesn't have any vacation days.

She asked me if she could take time off for the holidays anyway. She told me that she wanted to see her family and that they get together at her mom's house, 300 miles away.

Her question put me in an awkward situation. We have rules at my office about vacation time, but she really put the guilt trip on me – so much so that I gave her two days off. She hardly said thank you after all of that.

I am not happy about this at all. How can I let her know my feelings? – Annoyed, Dallas

A.: Remember that your assistant is young and in need of guidance. Rather than being upset with her, educate her.

Tell her you are disappointed that she seems ungrateful for your extra effort to make her holiday comfortable. Tell her that you realized how lonely she was for her family and that you made an exception so she could be with them. Explain that you expect her to have the basic manners to say thank you and to go the extra mile at work because you went the extra mile for her.

Lifestylist and author Harriette Cole is president and creative director of Harriette Cole Media. You can send questions to askharriette@harriettecole.com or C/O Universal Uclick, 1130 Walnut St., Kansas City, MO 64106.