Q. I am frustrated at work because when I do a good job, my boss does not see it, yet when I fail to live up to his expectations, all he does is criticise me, which erodes my self-confidence. How do I deal with this dissatisfaction?
Employees gravitate towards a boss who has similar characteristics, however, the reality is that you don’t choose your boss, so the odds of having one who is like you are very rare.
Have you ever wondered why the same boss you find unbearable has good rapport with your colleagues? Chances are that they understand his personality and therefore know how to manage him.
Bosses are human beings and therefore have weaknesses and experience similar challenges like other employees. Understand what triggers the bad temperament from your boss and avoid it.
For instance, is he a morning person or is he more vibrant towards the end of the day? Some prefer to have a quiet session in the morning as they plan their day - is this the time you go to him with all your problems seeking solutions?
Most bosses have an affinity to employees who go to them with a problem and several possible solutions to choose from, so get clarity in terms of his expectations from you.
What defines a ‘good job’ for instance? Is the definition your view or is it aligned to the objectives that have been discussed and agreed with him?
If he gives you an assignment, seek to understand the urgency and importance of the assignment and agree on the timeframe to deliver.
How often does he expect update and feedback? Does he prefer it done face-to-face or in a report?
Visualise the worst boss you have ever had and the characteristics he portrayed then come up with a strategy to manage each one of them, this way, no matter what kind of a boss you will encounter, you will be able to manage him or her.
What is critical is choosing not to take the feedback as a personal attack, rather, a way to seek to improve on your performance.
It would surprise him, if he criticised you, and you politely told him, “thank you for that feedback, please let me know how I could have delivered the assignment better”.
You are stuck with him as long as you are in that position, therefore change your perception about him if you want to enjoy your job.
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