Q. I manage a team of about 20 employees. One of the women who works for me is really talented and does a great job but consistently dresses too provocatively for the office. She's in her 40s, yet she keeps wearing plunging necklines and short skirts. How do I tell her she needs to tone it down without being too harsh?
Mia: I think I would try to stress that she's a valuable employee and just gently note that there are office standards for professional attire. It's probably going to upset her, however you say it. Tell her she's very stylish, but sometimes her outfits can be a distraction.
Steve: Make it as positive as you can, couched as career advice, praising her work and potential, etc.
Bumping gets to be a grind
Q. About three months ago, I started work in a small office where we're all crowded together and things are usually quite busy. One older guy always seems to be bumping into or brushing against me. At first I thought nothing of it, but after about the third time, I got suspicious. I get along with everyone and don't want to mess up a good work environment. So I'm reluctant to tell him to stop it. But I don't think all these brushes are accidental and I want it to stop. Suggestions?
Steve: It sounds to me like you are a victim of frottage, an unhealthy compulsion to rub up against another person, usually in a crowded place like a store or bus. I'd inquire of some of the other women you work with whether they've had similar experiences with this guy. If so, take it to the boss.
Mia: How crowded are you that this guy can't give you some space? Do you work in a clown car?
I would just point it out in a joking way, calling him clumsy or something. Maybe he'll take the hint.