Q: My colleague has just died from cancer. The decline was very rapid and most of us are suffering from shock. We are a small team and it somehow seems disrespectful to talk about achieving goals when he has just lost his life. What should I do?

A: Your letter reminds me the office is a social and emotional environment, every bit as much as any workplace. For many of us the reward of working is social as well as financial. Bosses, please take note!

Grieving is an individual activity, so don't extrapolate about how you feel to everyone else, but if this death is affecting your ability to do your job, then share your thoughts with your manager or a trusted colleague.

Without doubt time will make you feel better, but right now there is nothing disrespectful in getting on with your job, having clear goals and making sure that you and your colleagues produce the best results you can for your business.

Be aware that part of the shock may also come from the question 'what if it was me?' Therefore if your colleagues want to do something different perhaps this is the time to look at living a healthier life, rather than just dreaming about taking exercise, eating and drinking in moderation. Maybe this is the way to remember your colleague.

Q: I have made an almighty blunder and don't know what to do next. Last week, while celebrating Friday I was rather loose-tongued about a supplier having debt problems. It has now got back to me that this story is spreading through our niche market and that I may well cause his demise. Help!

A: Now, I'm no lawyer but if your supplier suffers financial loss and you have no evidence for your assertion then you could find yourself in very hot water.

If you do have evidence then you should be using this to protect your own trading relationship, which is unlikely to be helped by undermining your supplier publicly.

Right now, I think I would probably choose to keep my head down and my mouth shut while double-checking my sources regarding the supplier's debt.

But if you are on thin ice I would suggest a conversation with a lawyer who specialises in this area. With your lawyer plus common sense you will need to determine your position within your business as well as externally if necessary.

These things often don't take root in the way that you might fear but at the very least the sleepless nights you are having now are probably suitable punishment for your loose tongue.

If you have a question for Sue, email her at sue@mountstevensexecutivecoaching.com