Q: Hi Jill, do you know of any resources where people may get advice about interpersonal relationships at work? I’ve had a few issues lately that I just cannot get resolved with the office manager because she’s trying to be everyone’s friend and doesn’t address the issues head on. I feel I have nowhere else to go, but some advice from others in the same boat might be helpful.



A: Sharron, while it’s admirable that your manager wishes to be friends with her staff, she can’t do this at the expense of managing her staff. Is she a newly hired manager? Many times, in an attempt to fit in and rally allies some managers will try to be everyone’s friend, forgetting their primary responsibility is to manage. Much like the student-teacher relationship, friendly interaction among people is not to be mistaken for friendship as that can blur the lines around expectations and can make disciplinary action much harder to deliver and accept.


I would suggest connecting with the Canadian Management Centre (CMC). They offer worldwide training and management education, which reportedly improves the immediate performance and long-term results of corporations. Workshop seminar topics include leadership, strategic management, communication/interpersonal and supervisory skills workshops. They’ve also got a course that might be of particular interest to your manager called Assertiveness Training For Women In Business. The next three-day course is offered from Jan. 22-24.


Q: Can you give me the name of any organizations where I might be able to get new or used business suits donated to me? I’m currently unemployed and just getting out of a violent situation with my ex-husband. Access to money is a grave issue for me right now but I’m looking to rejoin the corporate world and I know how important image is.

A: Congratulations on the big and positive steps you’ve taken thus far! You are right, image does take you a long way in business. I was able to find some organizations that should be of help to you, both in spiffing up your outer image and making sure your resumé and interview skills are just as sharp. I recommend you contact the FACE Dress for Success Charity at 416-787-7165. FACE collects new to lightly used female business attire, accessories, and more. The charity is working towards ending poverty in Toronto by helping women in need get back into the workforce. I would also recommend you visit the Ontario Women’s Directorate’s website (www.citizenship.gov.on.ca/owd/index.html). On this website, you will find links to a variety of training and education services. I would also suggest you visit www.microskills.ca as they have programs specifically designed to facilitate women starting their own businesses, if in fact that is something you are interested in. Good luck!

Jill Andrew — CYW, BA, BA (Hons.), BEd. Please include your full name, address and telephone number when e-mailing. All letters are subject to publication.


jill’s tip of the week

Helping the environment is good for business too! To help save on paper usage, reuse office materials such as folders and envelopes.