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Karren Brady solves your career questions from flirty bosses to an overwhelming workload

OUR new Bossing It  columnist Karren Brady is here to solve all your burning careers questions.

Today she helps out a woman unsure of how to deal with a flirtatious boss, and gives her expertise on how to get on top of an overwhelming workload.

 Fabulous’ Bossing It columnist Karren Brady answers your career questions
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Fabulous’ Bossing It columnist Karren Brady answers your career questions

I work in admin at a law firm and have a new boss who is very flirtatious. He often sits on my desk when he is talking to me and puts his hand on my knee or arm.

I am one of only a few women in the office and I am not sure if this is just his manner or if he is flirting with me. His behaviour is making me uncomfortable but I don’t want to end up losing my job. What should I do?

Sally, via email

 Sally says her flirtatious boss' behaviour is making her feel uncomfortable and she is worried she could lose her job
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Sally says her flirtatious boss' behaviour is making her feel uncomfortable and she is worried she could lose her jobCredit: Getty Images - Getty

In simple terms, be direct. Why should you put up with behaviour at work that makes you uncomfortable?

Tactfully, politely and privately tell him that you enjoy the job, but his manner and the over-familiarity of his actions are making you feel awkward and you would like it to change. Be diplomatic butbe very clear about your wishes and maintain eye contact.

As you say, sometimes people simply do not know that their actions are causing distress, and he may well feel genuinely awful for making you uncomfortable and be much more mindful going forward.

However, if he tries to trivialise or dismiss what you have to say, ask him to stop, consider your feelings and correct his behaviour – don’t let him undermine you.

If that isn’t the end of it, remember you don’t have to tolerate it. The next step is to carefully read your company’s sexual harassment policy and go to HR.

Keep a note of every time his behaviour has made you uncomfortable so you have a record if you have to file an official complaint.

A good HR manager will be a valuable ally in straightening out the issue, as most companies are aware this is something that should be treated seriously.

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I’ve been in my job three months and am finding the workload overwhelming. I was brought in to manage a team and one of them isn’t capable of doing the tasks asked of him.

I’ve explained the situation to my boss, but she just says the work needs doing and it’s up to me to delegate it as I see fit. How should I manage the situation?

Kate, via email

 Kate is new to her job and is finding the workload incredibly challenging
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Kate is new to her job and is finding the workload incredibly challengingCredit: Getty Images - Getty

Don’t be afraid to speak to your team member directly – after all you are his manager and you are responsible for him and his work. Until you do this, the burden will continue to fall on you and this will affect your morale as well as that of the rest of your team.

They’re looking to you to resolve the matter and if you do you will gain their respect as well.

Invite this person to a meeting, then professionally and unemotionally tell him specifically what you expect from him, give evidence of where he has not done the work required or to the standard expected with specific examples.

Explain the repercussions of his under-performance. Say you want to find a solution to the issue, and ask how you can help him so he can perform the tasks expected.

Communication is key to resolving the issue – and remember to reward any improvement with positive feedback.

The Apprentice's Karren Brady gives career advice in game of Have You Ever?


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