Q. I work for a computer company and I am one of the few women in the organization to have reached a management-level position.

From the first day on this job, I have gotten the distinct impression that my mostly male employees expect a certain type of behavior from me.

In short, they expect me to be nice -- a kinder, gentler manager.

I am actually not a desk-pounding, tough-talking sort of person, but I also don't want to be viewed as a wimp.

Should I push myself to act more macho, at least until I establish my authority as a manager?

A. Ignore their expectations -- and fight off your own inclination to appear in any particular way, as well.

You got to where you are because over time you acquired a set of skills and applied them in a particular way that proved to be effective, meaning that you and the people under your supervision produced good results.

Stay with what has worked for you in the past. Keep watching the results your group produces. If the results aren't satisfactory, adjust your style so the results improve.

However, under no circumstances should you tinker with your style to match expected appearances.

Q. Each day at our place of work everyone starts at 8 a.m. sharp -- everyone except my assistant. She usually wanders in 20 to 30 minutes late.

I've asked her several times to please come in on time and although she agrees to try, she never makes it.

How big a deal should I make of this? Should I bring it up in her performance review? Should I threaten to lower her next raise?

I am afraid that if I allow her to continue being late I may send the wrong message to the rest of my staff.

A. You are permitting an untenable situation to continue. Your credibility as a manager depends on your being a good role model for the practices that you expect from your employees.

If they are expected to show up at 8 a.m., you better show up then.

This is not a small matter, but one that cuts right to the integrity of your managerial practices.

So, treat it that way.

Tell your assistant that you have been remiss in not treating her tardiness more seriously, but that you will absolutely do so from now on. Explain why it is doubly important in her case.

Then, apply your company's disciplinary process to the letter.

Andrew Grove is chief executive of Intel Corp. of Santa Clara, Calif., and an author and lecturer on management. Please send questions to him in care of the San Jose Mercury News, Business News Department, 750 Ridder Park Dr., San Jose, Calif. 95190.