Karren Brady gives career advice — from rude staff to unsupportive parents

Karren Brady gives career advice — from rude staff to unsupportive parents

June 13, 2021

APPRENTICE star and vice-chairperson of West Ham FC Karren Brady answers all your careers questions.

Today she helps Carrie, who is struggling to manage someone difficult on the team, and Cecilia, who wants to pursue her dream of becoming a fashion designer.

Q) I’m finding it hard to manage someone on my team because she is so rude to me.

When we’re in meetings, she rolls her eyes at everything I say or just looks bored, and in one-to-ones she’s abrasive, challenges what I say and tells me that the way I’ve asked her to do things won’t work.

I have encouraged my team to put forward their own ideas, and I always try to listen to suggestions, but her behaviour is becoming so difficult I’m finding myself unable even to listen to what she says.

I know we are very different people, but I feel like I’m failing as a manager. Where do I go from here?

Carrie, via email

A) First, you need to take her to one side and let her know that her behaviour is unacceptable and she is jeopardising her future with the company by being so unprofessional.

It is not only visible to you, but to her peers and senior managers, too.

In your one-to-ones, make sure you set an agenda beforehand so you stay on topic, and the two of you can focus on business priorities and talk privately about any opinions you disagree on.

Ask her to explain exactly why she thinks something won’t work and what she thinks the solution is.

If she doesn’t have a solution, then tell her she needs to come up with some before simply pointing out problems.

Listen and be open-minded that she might have some good ideas, and give her praise when she deserves it.

If her attitude doesn’t improve, speak to your HR team, who will be able to provide you with additional support.

You should try to keep written records of conversations you have with her, of her behaviour and of the quality of her work.

Unfortunately, one of the hardest things about managing people is people!

Be a boss

Bossing It is Fabulous’ series about ordinary women who have launched incredible businesses.

It aims to inspire other women and show that if these ladies can do it, so can you!

Read more at thesun.co.uk/topic/bossing-it.

Q) It’s always been my dream to be a fashion designer, but my parents have never approved, saying it’s an unreliable industry and is unlikely to work out.

To please them, I did a degree in history and now teach in a secondary school. However, I recently applied for a fashion design MA and was accepted on to the course.

I haven’t told my parents, as I know they’ll say it’s a waste of time. I really want to take this opportunity, but I worry it’s not worth falling out with my parents over. Please help!

Cecilia, via email.

A) Congratulations! I’m so pleased you took the step to apply for the MA, even if you hadn’t 100% decided to go through with it.

You must remember that this is your life and you’re the one living it, not your parents!

A career doing something you love is a happy one.

I’m sure your parents only want you to be happy, and they believe that a teaching career will provide you with a lifelong job and financial security.

There’s nothing wrong with that – however, if it’s not what you are passionate about, you need to make a change.

Explain to your parents that your passion still lies with fashion and the fact you have been accepted on to the course means you obviously have talent, and you would love their support in pursuing your dream.

Remind them that you will always have your degree and teaching experience to fall back on. They might be shocked, but once they understand your reasons, I’m sure they will support you.

Compiled by: Claire Frost

Karren can not answer emails personally. Content is intended as general guidance only and does not constitute legal advice.

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