Monthly Archives: August 2007

I run my own award-winning communications business. I have eight staff in their 20s, all of whom are generally great, enthusiastic, creative, hard working and problem solving, but …

…they do not get simple things right first time. The reports and proposals that they prepare for clients  inevitably contain typos, grammatical and spelling mistakes and often get the numbers wrong too. The result is that I have to check everything myself before it is sent out.

I have tried many things: training, coaching, sending offending documents back repeatedly, minor bollocking. Should I be tougher, humiliate them? In such a small team I worry this will be de-motivating. I have tried encouraging them to send things out unchecked by me, in the hope that the responsibility will motivate them to be more professional. This hasn’t worked yet. And of course this is a vicious circle. The more I correct, the more they unwittingly "leave" things for me to correct, knowing that I am compelled to ensure that our work goes out looking professional and right.

Should I employ a typist? Should I threaten to withhold their bonuses if they don’t get the basics right?

I have been invited to a trade dinner at which I am pretty certain I am going to win an award. It is quite a big deal for me, as it is the biggest award in the industry. My husband has been invited but I know he hates that sort of thing and is dismissive about the work I do.

In the past, when he comes to trade events he tends to get drunk, making the evening embarrassing for everyone else and unbearable for me. On the other hand I would like him to see that my hard work has been acknowledged and that I am well respected. I also want to thank him in my speech for all his support over the years, as he has mainly stayed at home with the children. Dare I risk taking him?

Dear Lucy

This blog is no longer updated but it remains open as an archive.

Lucy Kellaway, FT columnist and associate editor, offers her solution to your workplace problems in a fortnightly column in the Financial Times. In this weekly online edition of her 'agony aunt' column, readers are invited to have a say too. Read more about Dear Lucy here.