Picky Boss

My boss is driving me crazy!”  “He picks at everything I do!”  “I can’t seem to do anything right in the eyes of my boss!

Does any of those statements sound familiar?  Are you saying those things?  The number one reason people leave their jobs is their boss.

Before you head out the door, or worse – stay and become miserable, try the following steps.  Be warned, many people feel really uncomfortable when they are talking to people in authority – which in this case is your boss.  You may be pretty nervous, especially if this is the first time you’ve done something like this.

Sub-tip:  The key to working with your nerves is to prepare and practice what you’re going to say.  You will probably not be able to completely eliminate those feelings.

The discussion with your boss should be just between the two of you, in a private space without interruptions.

Step 1:  Whenever I’m nervous, I state it – you might want to start with “I’m a little nervous about bringing this up, however, I’ve noticed that you don’t seem pleased with my work and I’d like to talk about that.”

Step 2:  Seek to understand more details – ask questions like:  “What kinds of things frustrate you about my work?  What does a good employee look like to you?  What specific things aren’t right with my work that we could talk about and see how I can improve?”

Step 3:  Acknowledge the feedback that he/she gives you – you don’t have to agree with it – just say, “I would be frustrated if I had an employee who I felt that way about.” or “I understand that you want a higher quality of work.”  You’re understanding, not agreeing with everything that’s said.

Step 4:  You say:  “I want to do the very best job that I can.  I find it very hard to learn and improve when I hear criticism all the time.  What can we do to work better together from here and help me give you what you want?”

If you’ve read through this and thought, no way could I ever say this things – then you probably can’t.  For everyone else, congratulations on taking responsibility for the situation and doing what you can to change it.  Getting ahead in your career and growing may not always be easy, but I guarantee it will be satisfying!

What’s been your experience with managing up?  Any tips you’d like to share?  Will these steps work for you?  Have you ever tried them? Leave your comments below so we can learn from you!

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