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Situation: "My assistant wears skirts that are way too short."
How to deal: This calls for a face-to-face conversation, says Elster. "If you send a generic email to everyone about the dress code, she may think it doesn't apply to her." Pull your assistant aside and say, "What you wear directly affects how people treat you, and I'm worried your talent is being over-looked because of your attire." Be specific about what's not office-acceptable—a skirt above the knee, for example, or a sheer top—and make it clear you're speaking up only because you respect her and want to help her succeed.
Got a difficult boss or a gossipy cube-mate? These expert strategies will help you save face—and your sanity
female professional reading the newspaper
Career Advice for the Stickiest Work Situations