Question

My direct boss hates me. I work in the financial industry and most of my day is spent trying to avoid getting in trouble with my supervisor. It seems that everything I do is scrutinized and I can’t seem to catch a break. After 6 months of endless debates, we are now at a stalemate where my performance is not bad enough to justify actions, but not good enough to get recognized. Should I just quit and start over?

Answer

From the limited amount of information, we will assume that your supervisor has a good intention towards you and the business. With that said, let go back to the basics of the work-individual relationship.

Required skills

Let’s ask the simple question; do you have the required skills to perform your job adequately? Might seem a bit presumptuous to ask, but more often than not, people do not have the necessary updated knowledge to do their job. If you feel you’re lacking some of the information needed, your first step is to get that missing piece of knowledge as soon as possible. Involving your supervisor in this activity might be a good idea as he will find feel involved in your growth.

Understanding of your own job requirements

Do your manager and yourself have the same understanding of your job’s tasks and responsibilities? Have you ever asked your boss how he evaluates you for any given tasks? There’s no doubt that if you don’t see eye-to-eye on how your job is measured, you’ll always be in conflict with your direct supervisor.

Understanding of your manager’s job requirements

This is where it gets fun! Your success should be aligned with your supervisor’s success. If what you do does not fall within the realm of measured responsibilities your boss has, you’ll never make a stride in improving your work relationship with him. You need to make sure that what you do on a daily basis register in your manager’s overall motivation matrix. Once you get your job on his radar, that’s half the battle. That means, he cares!

His plan = His success

Let’s be honest, nothing helps a boss better than a success story. Ask your manager for his input on how you should work and how you should communicate with him. Get him to draft that plan on paper and make sure that you actually follow this plan 100% of the time for at least a month. Then, help him promote and market this successful plan to other colleagues. You just stroke his ego and helped him be a better manager. Win-Win. He leaves you alone (you are now his successful protege) and you now have the freedom to work. Your own debt is making sure that you iterate on your plan with your boss to ensure that it actually drives you forward.

Use the “We”, not the “I”

As much as possible, use “We” and not “I”.

“We successfully planned this”

“We managed to get it out”

The use of “We” allows you to be part of a greater collective while shielding you from individual attacks. Also, when using “We”, you are in fact including your manager into the mix for the better and for the worst. Nothing builds a relationship than figuring out problems as a team!

 

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