No matter where you fall on your company’s org chart, it’s always helpful to hear from labor and employment attorney Lisa A. Krupicka from Burch, Porter & Johnson. Krupicka spoke on “What Every Boss Should Know” earlier this month at Lunch in the Know, sponsored by the Greater Memphis Chamber’s Small Business Council.

“No employee thinks she is doing a bad job,” said Krupicka, so bosses must communicate clearly and effectively, even when the news is bad. Ruinous empathy – a characteristic outlined in Radical Candor, a favorite book of Krupicka’s written by former Memphian and tech leader Kim Scott (LINK: – might feel better in the short term, but not being able to tell an employee what the problem is and how you expect him to fix it will set you and the employee up for pain later.

Krupicka also said that specialized training to prevent sexual harassment in the workplace has given way to broader – and more effective – efforts to develop a culture of civility and respect. And a workplace’s culture comes from the top: If a department head or CEO talks about respect but doesn’t practice it, the culture will reflect her choices, not the training or counseling given to lower-level employees.

If something happens that leads to a complaint of harassment, Krupicka points out that it’s the employee’s responsibility to try and solve the problem at the lowest level possible, but if that is not successful, he or she must report it.

The supervisor’s responsibility? “Take the complaint seriously,” she said. “Communicate with the employee quickly and clearly. Make sure the behavior stops immediately. Inform HR. Maintain confidentiality. And never, never retaliate.”

Do you have an HR problem that needs to be solved? Contact Lisa Krupicka at or 901-524-5000.