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DEAR HARRIETTE: I have a new assistant who is a recent college graduate. She is eager to do a good job and has a positive attitude, but she is messing up big-time. I give her clear instructions for her tasks, yet she keeps missing important details. When I point out her mistakes, she says she hears me, but so far, she continues to make the same errors.
I understand that working is different from going to class and applying knowledge to take a test, but she is in the real world now. I have been careful to explain each step of our process for the work that we do so that she can understand how and why we do certain things. I have written down the steps as well, but she consistently misses key steps in our process, costing us time and money.
How can I teach her better so that she can catch on? She’s a smart young woman, but her attention to detail is lacking. — Pay Attention
DEAR PAY ATTENTION: If possible, write down all steps to the system that you want to be followed — in even more detail. Encourage your employee to check off each step as she goes along so that she can begin to notice the cadence and level of detail at which she is expected to get her work done. Invite her to check in with you when she believes she has completed tasks so that you can double-check her work. Let her know this isn’t a punishment; it is a natural part of the onboarding process.
DEAR HARRIETTE: I went to a work event the other night by myself. I usually invite my husband, but he almost always says no these days. Anyhow, I went, and while there, I saw a man I recognize from our local business community. I said hello to him, and he was very complimentary. He was professional but also slightly flirty. He noticed what I was wearing and told me I looked nice. It was the simplest thing, but it stood out because my husband never compliments me anymore. I don’t even think he sees me. We are like old roommates who barely even grunt at each other. Realizing that made me sad.
I have no interest in getting involved with another man. I do, however, want to add some spice to my marriage. How do I get started? — Mix It Up
DEAR MIX IT UP: Invite your husband to go with you on a date — not to a work function. Suggest that you go out to dinner or to a cultural activity in your town. Invite him for a walk in a local park or a drive to see something you haven’t visited before. Be clear that you are inviting him out for a date. Make a big deal of it and see if you can entice him to join you. Create space during your date to talk and laugh and just have fun. Then do it again!