Prescription – What to do when your boss doesn’t like you

This entire month we’ve tackled an all-too-common dysfunction – “I don’t think my boss likes me.” Think back to the glory days of middle school or high school when you had a crush on that special someone. Remember that moment when you wondered, “do they like me back?” And remember what happened?  It was all downhill from there. Your mind spun in circles wondering what’s going on, analyzing every little action he or she did or didn’t take. Unfortunately, when we believe our boss doesn’t like us, we are prone to many of the same spirals. But before we get too far down those paths, let’s take a step and assess what’s going on.

Diagnosing the Problem

Does your boss really not like you or is it all in your head? Consider some of the following tell-tale signs:

  • “The vague performance review”– If you are getting vague poor reviews with the only rationale being “your attitude” or “your approach” needs to change, while there is the possibility that those are true, there is also a good chance that your boss simply doesn’t like you.
  • “The demotion”– If you’ve been inexplicably demoted, this may be another sign your boss doesn’t like you. Consider if it’s your approach or who you’ve been associating with that may have triggered their opinion of you.
  • “The cold shoulder”– If you can’t get any time with your boss despite your best efforts, be worried – very worried. Even the most insensitive bosses will show a minimum level of effort to meet with their employees upon request. Consider 30 minutes every two weeks as a minimum level of contact – anything under that and your boss may be avoiding you on purpose.
  • “Not being asked to prom / rejection”– If your boss starts to play favorites and it’s not you, be concerned. Research shows that when a boss has a favorite, they pick them to fill an open position 98% of the time. Notice if you aren’t getting the invitations and opportunities that someone in your position “should” be getting. This may be a big red flag that you could end up home permanently on Friday nights.

For more on diagnosing the problem, here’s the full article.

Treating the Problem

There are some excellent “Do’s” and “Don’ts” for getting your boss to like you. Consider the following:

  • Focus on your work – A great strategy to get your boss to like you – get your work done consistently well and on time. Shocking, I know.
  • Add value in every interaction with your boss – In every interaction with your boss (casual conversations in the hall, meetings in his or her office, etc…) look to be adding value. What do I mean by that? Ask good questions. Provide updates. Don’t waste his or her time with a rambling story about your golf game that weekend.
  • Look out for your boss – Be on the lookout for things that might help or hurt your boss and let he or she know. They’ll appreciate the fact that you’ve “got their back” and will likely return the favor. Just be careful to not make up those problems just to get in his or her good graces. That kind of manipulation will eventually swallow you whole.
  • Dress like your boss –Bosses do care about “how” things get done. Notice your boss’ style and try to modulate your style to fall in line with how he or she approaches work. The same goes for attire. If he or she is business casual at work, I would not recommend coming into the office in torn jeans and a retro Motley Crue tee shirt.

For all the things you “Don’t” want to do to get your boss to like you, check out this list.


It may come to this. You’ve done everything and despite your best efforts, your worst fears are realized. Your boss not only doesn’t like you, but you have a giant target on your back. Time for drastic measures.

Option 1: Wait it out. If your boss is that bad, they will likely burn bridges. Their days may be numbered. Keep your head down, avoid him / her at all costs and hold out for them to be “cut out.”

Option 2: Get out. Get yourself a game plan, begin to network and “cut yourself out of the problem.” But remember, it’s always easier to get a job when you’ve got a job. Leaving without a plan is the equivalent of trying to perform open heart surgery on yourself. Sure there’s a chance you’ll survive, but I really don’t like those odds.

Life is easier when you know your boss likes you. Assess the situation, work the relationship and see if you can turn it to a positive. If not, it may be time for surgery, but in the end, that’s a much better option than working for someone who’s just not that into you.

Next Up (next month’s dysfunction):

“My team member has a bad attitude.” Got an employee or a co-worker who’s attitude sucks? This next “Dysfunction of the Month” is for you.  Stay tuned!  A whole month of bad attitudes… I feel rowdy already.

A note from Brandon
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48 replies
  1. Allison Ashton says:

    I work for a large corporation as a graphic designer. When I was hired I had thought I was only going to work with another gentleman on print media projects. I was informed a week or so before by the head hunter at the company that there were two other artists hired. One a younger graphic designer and another doing web work. The other graphic designer iwith not a lot of years experience. We 3 have been there a year. 6 of us in the marketing department. The Manager over the department is in her 30’s. The Manager that works with me and the other artists is in her early 60’s, writer, delves out work to both us artists. The understanding was I was to get the bigger jobs and the other artist the smaller jobs. But that was not upfront and clear. It was sort of given. So, I was confused from the start but learning about the company. The younger artist to this day is somewhat less engaging with me. She, through the year has gone to lunch with two of the other workers in the group on many occasions. I have only been asked once by one of the workers in the group to have lunch with them. Well, as time has gone on, I’ve noticed how the Manager that hands out jobs favors this younger artist over me, you feel it they connect. They have subtle left for lunch on occasion without asking me.

    Back in Jan I had a review but it was because of problems I had with sending emails to the wrong person, speaking out about an error on a job that the younger artist did for HR in front of HR. That made the Manager boil and she sternly said, “this is not your job, we saw the error!! And, I almost sent out a printed job to one person instead of the 11 it needed to go to. I was reprimanded. So, I stepped up to the plate to do my work and pay attention, and focus. I really focused, try to mirror what the younger artist did. Checking every email, reading the job description, keep notes and and not restraining myself to not talk to much to my Manager, only respond through emails to communicate with her that way. It seems a little smoother but in our staff meeting when I talk about my jobs, I feel like an outsider it just does not have a synergy there with me there and the others. I don’t get the support. When I mispronounced the name of another employee, the big Manager and the other Manager seems slightly disgusted I did not pronounce it correctly. The other manager is over the manager that hands out work to the younger artist and me. This boss Manager use to come to me for certain jobs. It seems she goes only to the younger artist for certain work. It feels like there is something secret going on behind me, just little telling things that I question? Are they wanting to get rid of me? I can’t really talk to anyone or would sound like a needy person and it would put them on the defense. And besides I would not get a straight answer.

  2. Brandon Smith says:

    Wow. What a mess! First, let me tell you that my heart goes out to you. No one likes being in an environment that has them feeling talked about or not liked. Reminds me of middle school. Ugh…

    So, here’s what you can do:

    Step 1: Ask for how you can improve. You can do this with your manager or H.R. (or both). I prefer your manager first, but if that person is not receptive, go to H.R. Simply say, “I think there is something in my work style or approach that is not allowing me to effectively meet your needs (to your manager). What are ways in which I can improve? I take pride in my work and it is important to me that I’m able to serve you effectively.” Often, that approach yields not only some good feedback but also begins to put you back in his/her good graces. Second, ask for an opportunity to follow-up with your manager in a few months to check in to see if they are seeing your changes and if they perceive them as working.

    Step 2: Begin developing an exit strategy. If your situation has become as pervasive as you described (everyone is judgmental / against you), it may be very difficult to change all of their perceptions, not to mention the incredible amount of work on your part. Get yourself a plan to find another job as a back up. Start networking and looking so when the right opportunity comes along, you can grab it. And above all, try to take an inventory on what made this situation turn sour. Was is the culture? Your boss? Your co-worker? The lack of clarity? All of the above? Look for ways to spot those signs earlier.

    Keep me posted and if I can help in any other way, don’t hesitate to ask!


  3. Brandon Smith says:

    LJ, O.k. I’m gonna try hard to not take it personally that you compared me to a bad boss! Trust me, that is not my intention. Your point is a fair one, but I actually address it in the article you refer to (Notice in that article that I point out that you shouldn’t dress like your boss and later in the same article that you should dress like your boss). To clarify, here’s what I mean. You don’t need to try to be like one of the “cool kids” and dress “just” like your boss. That looks like pandering and “kissing up.” Not a way to maintain your own levels of respect. However, you do need to take into consideration the working approach, style and culture your boss values. This includes not only the approach with “customers” (internal or external), but also the general level of professional attire your boss employs and values (casual, business casual, business formal, etc…). This matters. I know a CEO of a small company that has a “cool” business casual look about him (cool jeans, a hip button up shirt with open collar, fashionable shoes, and occassional sport coat). One of the complaints he had with one of his senior leaders was that this senior leader didn’t “get” the look and didn’t dress in alignment with the CEO, and thus the culture and brand of the organization the CEO was trying to portray.

    So, don’t dress exactly like your boss, but watch him / her for cues on what they value and choose accordingly. Hope that helps.

  4. justin says:

    hi! just want to share my current situation…i felt that my boss doesn’t trust and like me. i was hired as admin assistant and has a partner on that department that is same as me, newbie..the guy was a marketing graduate while i have an IT diploma..it was an easy task, filing, checking emails, updating our account etc… it all started when my boss always calls my partner and give him tasks. he always calls him and give other assignments everyday., while im there sitting on my table some filing. my partner thinks that hes the favorite and he had plenty to do everyday, has very important assignments etc.., it always made me felt unimportant. what i hate sometimes the most is when my boss assigned my own job to him and didn’t relay any information or data to me. my partner does the same, he keeps all infos by himself. what i do is find a thing to work with, keeps myself busy and keep myself updated on what theyre doing. though its tough, i cant give up because i cant afford to lose a job right now.. now there’s questions swirling on my mind, 1. does my boss doing this on purpose?(he’s the one who interviewed me) 2. does he thinks that my partner is much competitive that i am because he has masteral degree? 3. is it my partner who doesnt relay some infos or task given to me?

  5. Brandon Smith says:

    You’ve got to be tremendously frustrated. There was one thing you did say that gave me some hope: “he’s the one who interviewed me.” I would recommend you ask for a brief meeting with your boss and tell him that you’ve become quite skilled at your current workload and would like to take on some additional work and more challenging / stretch work if he has it available. It could very well be that your boss doesn’t know what you are capable of and just assumes you are busy and/or not ready for more. Clarify that misunderstanding first and see if that does the trick. Good luck and keep me posted!

  6. LS says:

    I have a friend who is always worried that he is hurting the bosses feelings and really stressing her out when he delivers bad news or advice on a problem he feels is brewing with a customer. He doesn’t actually know how she feels, he just reads into her facial cues too much. I feel like he’s carrying around an added responsibility and is slightly paranoid about hurting others’ feelings. How can I help him and what can he do? It’s gotta stink to feel that way.

  7. Brandon Smith says:

    One of the best strategies to deal with that challenge is to do something a good mentor of mine would recommend: “Attend to the obvious.” In other words, it is perfectly appropriate to open the conversation by saying, “This is very uncomfortable for me. The last thing I want is for you to feel hurt or defensive. However, at the same time, I think I owe it to you to share with you this information (or feedback). If I were you, the last thing I would want is for someone to not be honest with me and not share with me what was going on.” After delivering the news / feedback, check in by saying, “What can I do to help you with this?” This approach should make the whole event more productive and easier for all parties involved.

    My last comment is that this is also sounds like a boundaries issue. It is quite appropriate to be aware of and sensitive to others’ feelings. However, when we take ownership and responsibility for what others’ feel and how they react to news we deliver, we cross the line from healthy to dysfunctional. Other’s feelings are not ours to take ownership of and soon this orientation plants the seed for a co-dependent and boundary-less relationship. Not good in our personal lives and equally ineffective professionally.

    Hope that helps and keep me posted!

  8. rf says:

    Ok so here’s the situation, I have been employed as a recruiter for the past 5 months and my boss is just straight up crazy. IE today I was on the phone and he was telling me what to say so I say it exactly like he told me to, I get off the phone I get “nagged at” because I apparently didn’t say what I was suppose to. This has been going on for several weeks and he’ll be nice to me one min and the treat me like trash the next and then be nice to me all within hours. Also he is friends with everyone else and it seems like the go out of their way to make me feel like an outsider. I’m pretty sure they are going to fire me but I dont know because they tell me to call someone next month and I dont know what to to the whole thing has giving me an ulcer…not to mention I have yet to miss a day and I was sick one day and they got mad because I asked if I might be able to leave early…

  9. Brandon Smith says:

    My gut reaction is “get out!” What you described is fairly severe and not likely to change. The unfortunate irony is that the longer you stay, the more likely your self-confidence will wear down over time making it that much harder to leave. In many ways, what you describe is similar to an abusive relationship. Your only hope in saving this situation is if the reason for your boss’ anxiety is as a result of his / her boss treating him / her the way your boss is treating you. If that is the case, then you “might” be able to build a trusting relationship with your boss over time so that they see you on their side and don’t push their anxiety and fear of judgment onto you. But that is a big “if.” It requires that your boss is open to you (and is generally open to trusting others) and that the issue is a result of his / her boss… not something else (ex: an engrained feeling of “never good enough” from childhood, mood disorder, bi polar disorder, etc…).

    Regardless, hang in there and keep me posted! I’m happy to help in any way I can.

  10. JB says:

    Here’s my situation. I started working for this company 5 months ago, I basically do outside sales for them so I’m not in the office very often. My boss and I are very different people, my boss seems flustered a lot and scatter brained, and she seems to need people around her to help her do her job. My first 2 months working for this company I didn’t show a stellar work ethic. I made a lot of sales at the places they sent me too, but there were times when I told them I couldn’t work the day before or I was late for work. I actually asked for a raise after my first 2 months, and during this performance review I was told that I was basically on the verge of being fired by my boss. I have probably seen my boss 3 times in person since then. In one of those encounters she acted very bitchy towards me, I said hello to her, and she said “not now” to me, a few minutes later I was able to talk to her, and I spoke to her about what kind of jobs I was thinking of moving into at the company, at the end of the conversation she asked me, “are we cool?”. However, a month later in another conversation that we had during our monthly meeting, we had a friendly conversation and smiled at each other. It’s very hard for me to read my boss, I really don’t know where she stands with me, and I don’t think she knows where I stand with her. Over the past 3 months I have improved drastically. I have been told that I am in the top 10% for production by boss’s assistant, and I have been praised by many people that work along side my boss. Some of these people told me that they put in a good word for me to my boss based on the numbers I bring in. I am also not late anymore. I was told by my boss when I was hired that I could get a raise after 2 months work if I was a good producer (which my numbers show) I don’t have too much contact with my boss, I mostly am in contact via phone and email with these people that work alongside my boss. They tell me where to go sell our product. Recently, I have asked my boss for another performance review via email and they never responded. I was going to ask for a small raise during the review, which I think I deserve and was told that I could get when I was hired. What should I do? I’m thinking of leaving this job if I don’t get a raise.

  11. Brandon Smith says:

    An interesting example… So to summarize: first you start off as a “slacker” and your boss is on the verge of firing you. You turn it around and end up a “rock star” with performance in the top 10%. On top of that, your boss appears overwhelmed and disconnected. So, to pull it all together, your boss likely has labeled you as “high maintenance” and “unpredictable.” Changing that is your challenge. A few options:
    1. If you like the company and want to stay, I would be patient. I would continue your high performance and look for a meeting with your boss closer to the 1 year anniversary. Indicate to your boss during that meeting that your performance has exceeded expectations and you were promised a raise after the 2 month mark which never came. Bring your numbers to the meeting and come prepared to outline your performance over the year. If you are willing to keep your head down between now and then, you will likely begin to shift their perspective of you.

    2. If you don’t care whether you stay or go, be persistent for the meeting. Make the purpose of the meeting very clear and make it as “easy” to do for your boss as possible. For example, say “I would like to schedule a 15-20 minute meeting to briefly review my performance and discuss the modest raise which we discussed when I initially accepted the job. I’m happy to do that in person or over the phone. Whatever fits your schedule best. I look forward to it.” Send this as an e-mail AND leave a voicemail. If you do not hear from her within 2 weeks, follow-up with another e-mail and voicemail. In this e-mail, simply state “I’m just following up on my request for a brief performance meeting to discuss our agreed upon raise contingent upon certain performance standards. Please let me know if this is still possible. The last thing I want to do is harass you with requests for a meeting so this will be my last request. As a result, if I do not hear back from you within the next week, my assumption will be that you would prefer not to give me the agreed upon raise.” That “deadline” almost always produces a result. If you do not hear back from her, then you know where you need to stand and you can either forward these e-mails onto H.R. / your boss’ boss or you can simply look for another job. However, either way your relationship with your boss will be permanently ruined so tread carefully with this last step if your goal is to stay.

    Keep me posted and good luck!

  12. AK - Teacher says:

    So I started working at a daycare as an assistant teacher in the infant room 6 and a half months ago. Things were going great and I got promoted to full time 2 months later. A new teacher came in who has been there since the school opened and took over as lead teacher. We had a minor disagreement about communication and she threatened me that she’s go to the boss. The next day I came in and I was part time. A few weeks later I got called in to my boss saying parents had been complaining and saying they don’t want to see me at pickup (didn’t say why) and gave me time to figure out what I’m doing wrong. I continued to ask for support from my co teachers and thought things were good. She pulled me back in a week later to tell me that parents see me clean up the mess of the room at pickup. I said that if all the babies are happy, fed and have a clean diaper on, I try to tidy up a bit. The boss gives me an overdue performance evaluation and says if it weren’t for my references, I wouldn’t be employed there anymore. I come in this morning and there is a new girl training in my room. They have “done me a favor” and made me a floater. I have tried to be nice to my boss and ask how she’s doing but I feel like downgrading my position was a slap in the face and the last straw. I don’t know whether quitting would be my only option but I feel like I’m never going to be good enough for her. She has hated me since the day I started and has also threatened to fire me on my 3rd day of work. (I was going through a rough time in the beginning). Please help.

  13. AK - Teacher says:

    ^ I also offered to stay past my scheduled hours to wait for parents to pick their kids up, I’ve offered to come in when other teachers will be/are absent. Nothing I do is appreciated and always goes unnoticed.

  14. Brandon Smith says:

    First, I can’t think of anything you could have done differently or more of. Daycare is a tough environment. I’ve worked with many daycares in an effort to remove dysfunction and frankly, in that environment, once someone has decided they don’t like another person, it is nearly impossible to change their mind. I would recommend you start looking for another job (perhaps another daycare facility… not all are bad!) before you quit. Before you do that, I would challenge you to think about the signs your boss gave that she didn’t like you. Could you have spotted those sooner? Is there a way to tell in your interviews for future jobs so this doesn’t happen to you again? That’s the key. Interview going forward paying particular attention to the culture of the place, the boss you work for and the job. If you can get all three right, you’ll be happy. Good luck!

  15. AK - Teacher says:

    Thank you so much for responding! I noticed a while back that she would be super nice to my coworker who happened to be standing next to me and really rude to me. The owner of the daycare and I get along great. I honestly don’t know if there is anything indicating that she ever liked me besides the fact that I had great references and employers previously and when she hired me. I feel like she is always really condescending but only towards me.

    I’m going to start applying to other places and sending my résumé out. I hope to find a better job soon.

  16. Sally Smith says:

    My problems with my boss started in August when he had an appointment to meet me at a property. He was late so i called the office to find out if he’d been held up there – they told me he was at the property and i informed them that he wasn’t. He was still at home and the office had been trying to get hold of him all morning. Eventually he called the office, sorted out their problems and my colleague, as a joke said, you are in Sally’s bad books – she waiting for you. When he called me – he started shouting at me on the phone. He then texted me all afternoon saying i was unprofessional for contacting the office etc – 8 texts in all, all criticising me.
    I was surprised and upset by his behaviour – it was so “out of the blue” We had a talk a few days later and he said that “things” had got on top of him and he wrongfully took it out on me. So i had to forgive and forget but things have not been the same since.
    He constantly criticises me at work over things that are not anything to do with my job role. I have tried talking to him and he says i’m being oversensitive. But his criticisms are directed at me and are nothing to do with my work. eg. apparently i don’t say Hello to him when he returns to the office after being out for an hour or so or if i pass on a message from a complaining customer or another employee, i sound as though i’m defending them instead of being on his side. It’s all things like that.
    I asked him if he had any criticisms of my work and he said no – wishes he had 3 of me in the office because i work hard, watch his back and always action immediately whatever task he gives me. I also do alot of unpaid overtime to keep on top of my job as he distracts me during the day with items he hasn’t dealt with.
    He seems to have a negative attitude towards me but laughs and jokes with other colleagues. I have worked for him for over 2 years and he has always been nice, praising me for my hard work, we’d have a laugh etc but the last 5 months have been very upsetting and stressful.
    The atmosphere at work is negative too – colleagues constantly blaming each other for mistakes made, gossiping etc. It is starting to get me down listening to that all day too!
    I used to love my job and was excited to start my day but the last few months, i can’t bear going in and feel like i’m “walking on eggshells” all day. It is affecting my health and relationships at home. Not sure what to do :-(

  17. Brandon Smith says:

    Your boss sounds unhealthy and abusive. The challenge is that others who don’t work with him closely probably don’t see it. He likely struggles with intimacy and thus, anyone close to gets to see him at his very worse. He is a “closeted” abuser. What leads me to say this? His abusiveness towards you when you present him with mistakes he’s made and or show others his imperfections (when he doesn’t show up for appointments, etc…). Closeted abusers rarely apologize when they make a mistake.

    So, what can you do? Short-term, I would recommend trying to distance yourself from him and move away from “intimate” working relationship and try to communicate more with less intimate means (ex: more e-mail and voicemail). Avoid acknowledging, recognizing, spotlighting and attending to any of his mistakes. Operate as if he is perfectly perfect always. This will lower his anger and abusiveness (he appears to get triggered when his imperfections are exposed). Long-term, look for another boss. It sounds as though the overall culture has become negative so staying may not prove to be a viable option. Get looking for a boss with a healthier approach to interacting with direct reports. It’s clear that you are extremely valuable. You just need to find the right boss to truly appreciate what you bring.

    Good luck and keep me posted!

  18. Alex says:

    I work at a college, I’ve been working here for five and a half years. At first I was excited because there is so much research going on here, and it is respected nationwide. I had full time and half of the time I was with students and the other half I had time to dedicate to joining investigation teams and doing some of the work.
    The one who hired me was the headmaster, who had been my teacher during my post-grad. But for personal reasons one of the teachers already working here disliked me, more than that I think she hated me. She was friends with my direct boss and they always gave me the worst schedules with classes at 8 in the morning and at 6 in the afternoon so I had to stay all day in there, but I did it without complaints because I liked the job. Within the first year I worked here she retired though the friends were left behind and they started rumors and encouraged students to file complaints about me with the headmaster. They achieved to remove me from one of my groups. After a year the group got invited to a research group apart from the college and there were administration changes. Hedmaster resigned and someone else took his place. I got a part time contract after the change but all my hours were distributed with classes even though if two different investigation teams required for some hours to spend with them. Since then I’ve had been called to the office to be told that students resented my voice tone or face and that I should change my attitude, but when asked for help or concrete feedback the viceprincipal or career coordinator have made vague suggestions and I just had a talk with the group about the complaints and it turns to be just because I’m strict and they were not having it (most teachers are almost motherly or fatherly with them and I am not). They went so far to make up rumors about me and my classes, but it wasn’t the students I dunno who did it because I wasn’t required to my boss’ office for that matter I was just told while walking in the hall and it was told almost as a joke.
    This term I got my hours cut into 75% of the hours I usually have. they told me it was because of budget cutback but another of my coworkers got her hours expanded.
    And so far I hadn’t been able to join any investigation team.
    the procedure for attaining tenure will be held this year, and once obtained I can move to whichever campus of this college, hence get away from these people.
    I know I should hang on to this possibility but is there a way to make these months more bearable? I feel bullied overworked, stepped on and lately defenseless.

  19. Brandon Smith says:

    I am so sorry to hear about your challenges. Colleges and universities are highly dysfunctional and not near as collegial as one might think. My counsel to you is to spend as little time with the individuals who are causing you all of your stress and anxiety. Rather, find a group of people at the college that support you and spend your time with them. Think of them as your small pocket of resistance. Let them support you and recharge you. The only exception to this is consider if there are any individuals who will be making the tenure decision that you need to invest in between now and then. If so, be sure you are spending time with them and strengthening that relationship. Good luck and keep me posted!

  20. Cindy says:

    I have worked for my boss for 20 years. His wife keeps the books. For the past several years, she will write the checks for office bills and bring them in for me to mail out but “forget” to bring my paycheck. She also reduced my paid vacation days. Today, I discovered she has not been depositing money deducted from my check into my 401k plan. It’s not being put back into my check either. He’s constantly standing over me demeaning me and criticizing my work. Why doesn’t he just fire me? There’s no pension or even health care. I apply for any jobs I can with no luck. I have a BS degree and an Associate’s degree but it looks like I’m stuck here. Both my mental and physical health are suffering. Any suggestions? Thank you.

  21. Brandon Smith says:

    First, I want to attend to the obvious legal issues. You need to get your 401K compensation addressed ASAP. If you have not brought that up to your boss as an issue, you need to. An attorney may need to be in your future.

    Second, give yourself some grace. The fact you have been in an abusive workplace environment for 20 years is bound to have taken a toll on your confidence. My guess is that as a result, your resume has probably suffered. You are probably not “promoting” yourself nearly as well as you could. So, if you haven’t already, get with some close friends who know you well and get them to help you work on your resume and LinkedIn profile to truly show what you are capable of.

    Third, get networking with friends and family to try and find another opportunity. A large percentage of the job market today is “underground” (not posted on company sites, job boards, etc…). Some argue as much as 80% of jobs. You need people who know you to refer you. Finally, you need to be spending more time with people who know you well and can tell you how wonderful you are. Getting your confidence up will be essential to you both surviving your current situation as well as making a transition.

    Good luck!

  22. annonmyous says:

    i am working in a software company, but the problem is that my boss gives me such a work where there is no scope to be a successful technical software engineer,more ever i am interested in technical work but my boss always gives domain knowledge work/other tasks where in i am not interested at all.
    but i made an agreement with the organization when i joined stating that i will work for 3years,if i quit the agreement then i have to pay 2lakhs,still 18months needs to go to end up the agreement but i cannot break the agreement since i am not financially strong

    moreover, i wont get the technical work where in my teammates have got and getting it

    i informed to my boss that please give me pure technical tasks,but he is least bothered.he gives non sense work and says “ITS MORE IMPORTANT FOR YOUR FUTURE” by listening this my blood pressure will raises to Mount Everest

    my job satisfaction is not at all good

    requesting you to please suggest me

    Thanks in advance
    An annonmyous..

  23. Brandon Smith says:

    How frustrated you must feel. Given your obligation to stay for 3 years, here are some possible approaches to improve your overall work satisfaction even if you can’t change the job itself:

    1. Ask your boss what it would take for you to be given technical work? This forces your boss to at least provide some plan for you. If they refuse, then simply state, “O.k. It sounds as though you see me performing other tasks for the forseeable future with little I can do to change that.” Hopefully, this will get you the answer you want, but regardless you would have clarity on the situation.

    2. Begin “moonlighting” – finding technical work you can be doing on the side either as a contractor or just as a hobby. Just because your boss won’t provide you with technical work doesn’t mean you can’t do it on your own. Don’t let your boss stand between you and your growth

    3. Begin planning your “exit strategy” – even though you are committed at your current job for the next few years, it doesn’t mean you can’t start preparing your resume, meet with others at other companies / organizations you might want to join and overall build your exit strategy. Better to have that all built so when your time ends, you can flip a switch and move on with your career.

    Good luck!

  24. nzwi gwangware says:

    I am employed as a SHE representative, my problem is the manager of the company where I am launching safety issues do not consider my duty vital. When I have to partake my duties like safety talk and meeting , my current boss wont assess or even analyse what I have done that the employee may think my business is not of importance

  25. nzwi gwangware says:

    I am employed as a SHE representative, my problem is the manager of the company where I am launching safety issues do not consider my duty vital. When I have to partake my duties like safety talk and meeting , my current boss won’t assess or even analyse what I have done.There is no timme allocation for safety meeting since the management will be saying they are concerned on production. More so, they do not attend the meetings where necessary that the employees may think my business is not of importance. I informed my supervisor but nothing have changed

  26. anonymous says:

    I work as an assistant director in an academic advising office at a regional university. When I was hired in, my director had me spend a long time learning the advisors’ job. I feel like I’m a very hard worker and do everything that’s expected of me in a timely manner. However, the director still doesn’t trust me and there’s no differentiation between my job and the other advisors’ jobs. I’ve worked here for over a year and I figured things would change, but it seems to get worse. Whenever the director needs something, she always goes to one of the other advisors who has been there for the longest. The director never provides any feedback, but just says “thanks” when I give her something. Others have told me that she feels threatened b/c her responsibilities were drastically changed in the past year, and that she feels threatened by me. The director is a control freak on top of it who doesn’t like change. I don’t know what else to try at this point.

  27. Lost in translation says:

    HELP!!! My boss is extremely strange. He is in his late thirties. I am 10 years older and a female. He fancies himself as the typical male boss…confident, sharp looking and everybody’s friend. Very broad smile and very disarmingly charming. This guy could talk the pope out of his bible and convince him he was doing my boss a much deserved favor in surrendering it. I should mention he is in sales and has been most of his life. He is also a twin and aahh yes the twin sits directly across from his big brother and is also a boss. This is complicated.
    Not sure why the guy keeps me on board but he won’t look at me when I go into his office, he won’t allow any personal conversation no matter how small or trite and makes a point out of correcting me in front of any audience he can find but then relents when it’s just me and him. On any given occasion he will wait until someone else is in the office and without so much as looking up he will say did you get this done and if I say yes sir then he will say then why didn’t I see it up on the board and I will respond I am not sure sir. I have had to actually go and collect co workers to prove I did in fact complete a task and I have had to produce evidence of my job being done correctly. He then has called me while I was on my way home after I confronted him as to whether I should be looking for other employment to tell me not to quote get a big head but my paperwork is always in order. Then back to work like I don’t even exist all day long won’t even look up at me but when I am walking along the building alone and he is leaving the parking lot he says good night to me calling me by name. He never uses my name in the office and never says good night to me when anyone else is around. He regularly has outgoing laughing and personal conversations about his long time fiance and personal life with everyone and anyone even my husband but never with me. He has these conversations sometimes in front of me as if I was not even present and there are times he stops conversations when I walk into his office and other coworkers are present. He has my co workers very leery of me and totally cautious of me. I asked to purchase a car from our company as is the privilege of all workers and he threatened to take away my company car if I bought my own car. I asked why he would do that when everyone else is entitled to a car and to purchase a car from the company and he demanded again if I did that he would take away my company car. He acts out and then acts like he regrets it and wants to encourage me to stay on board. It’s punishment every day all day long excluding me from my coworkers and not acknowledging me then pacifying me by offering me some random kindness when no one else is around. When I do get eye contact with him his eyes are wide open like he is expecting a freight train to hit him and it only lasts for a split second. But he steals looks at me all day long like he is factoring how he might handle me for the day. So freak’n weird….I just want to get along with him. He will also throw me work…..if he thinks he has pushed me to the point of giving up. I have had days where I just had to leave his abuse and bullying get so bad or humliating and I am the mockery of every other female in the place and he will join in the feast.
    I had so much one day I just lost it in his office I told him I bust my ass here everyday, I do all my paperwork, I am the only honest worker he has on the floor, I am the only one to work on time every day, I do what I am told without question and I don’t complain about changes and he knows it and I am just done with the crap. I just can’t please him and he just won’t be normal around me. Of course I got a phone call on my way out of the parking lot and he conceded that what I said was true and that all I had to do was lay low and make sales and make some money with him. I truly cannot take the drama but Sales openings where I am are few and far between and like others here I love my job. I will do anything at this point I am so conflicted. I am a wife mother and very secure but this man has destroyed my ability to believe I am capable of anything. He is on any side as long as it does not publicly involve mine but privately he will feel badly and extend a helping hand. PLEASE HEEEELLLLPPP!!!

  28. Alico manny says:


    i have a particular boss that i have been working for for almost 2 yrs and since than i have been facing troubles. me and my colleague at work are in the same job same job description etc, however he would get more senior tasks than i do. if tasks are given i would told what to do but the other will be trained on what to do. if i say please show me than he will give a small laugh and say i’m capable.

    he would talk to other colleagues but when i request an audience he figits, not hearing me, cuts me off says he is busy or meeting when he doesn’t have one. also he like to joke say oh im recruiting another position similar than mine but with small laughs than says im joking.

    in relation to Responsibility and Accountability, im responsible for one area but he than involves different people that have no interest to carry out certain tasks that im suppose to do. when i confront he says i want you to focus on this or that. in relation to accountability he hold me responsible for the are if not delivered only because the person he involved has interfered with it

    separate communication channels to the team he will tell me to do one thing and tell the other to do another for the same task. with me he gives me problems when something is wrong but for others he defends.

    this is just the bit of it

    so advice please

  29. Brandon Smith says:

    It sounds like your boss, for whatever reason, doesn’t like you. Based on what you offered, I’d say you have two approaches you need to take. First, go to your boss at some point and say to him, “It is really important to me that I meet your expectations. I see you as my #1 customer and I want to make sure I am helping to make your job easier. Are there any things I need to start doing that I’m not? (wait for his response) Are there any things I need to stop doing? (wait for his response) Is there anything you would want me to continue doing… things that I’m doing that you like? (wait for his response).” Work on those things over a few months and see if that makes it better. Be sure to periodically give him updates on your efforts. Knowing that you care and that you are trying to please him often softens most “bad bosses.” If it doesn’t work then you’ll know there is nothing you can do. You’ve either got a narcissist on your hands or him simply refuses to see you any differently. At that point, you’ll need to do the second approach – start looking for a new boss. Either transfer internally or look externally for a new job.

    Good luck and hang in there!

  30. Romena says:

    I have been with this company for as little as 4 yrs now and at the beginning my supervisor spoke quite often to me .
    I asked her if we can ever go for lunch together and she replied back by telling me she prefers not to have lunch with her co workers / employees but recently this yrs 2014 she became chummy chummy with one of the newbies that came in and apparently they have many things in common, so one day I saw her go out for lunch with her and some other girls. Well that broke my heart because she never ever bother to ask me to come along. Now she is getting closer with the girls I hang out with and i’m pretty much ignored by her. She even interrupts me when Im speaking or if we are in a meeting together and I give a suggestion, my suggestion is always incorrect and others are great. It looks like she gets insecure when I say something correct. Should I confront her and ask her why Im getting this kind of treatment by her. Its pretty sad. Im lucky if I get a good morning by her.

  31. Brandon Smith says:

    Believing that your boss doesn’t like you is an awful thing. And to make matters worse, when he or she appears to like everyone else except you, it can be just painful. From my perspective, you have two paths. First, speak to your boss and say, “Hey, I’ve noticed that you seem to interact with me very little and when you do, its as though I’m irritating you. That’s not what I want. My number one goal is to support you. What can I be doing more or less of to improve our working relationship?” For most reasonable bosses, that fixes the problem. However, if nothing changes you’ll know you need to go down the second path. That path is to look for another boss either internally or (more likely) externally in a different company. Good luck and hang in there!

  32. sunshine says:

    I’m in a real tuff situation at work
    little background
    I’ve been here 4 years , during that time my director has been promoted up the ladder from lead cook to director , in the same time I was overlooked for asstd director and told I would get a big raise & a supervisors title . l got 1/2 the raise & the title.after 1 year I have been demoted & stripped of $1.50 of my $2.00 raise at the time everyone else is getting a small raise ( incentive .) this is due to my being written up for a rule 25( basically not happy at work ie attitude) & for another smaller incident . then bam all of a sudden the district manager my boss,s boss tells me that I have 2 more incidents & they would normally warrant a dismissal , but the place I work is under contract with a school & the school now ( due to incident with another seperately employee and my boss) has the final say on firing people. I’m sure my boss & the district both hate me and do not know if I should keep working here at this point. they both routinely lie to me & I can’t trust them . yikes this is sad .

  33. sunshine says:

    ps we just received our yearly eval and I got a 3.29 on a scale of 5 and was told that I am improving but that unfortunately not soon enough to keep from being demoted

    also the other two incidents were
    one I left work early w/o approval
    considered to be a walk out
    at the time I had worked a 10 hr day & it was 10:00 pm & I had to be back at work at 4:00 AM
    two I was accused wrongly ie I was set up
    of wasting food

  34. ashley says:

    Hi, I have a question. I had a severe illness May of this year that I had to leave work before my probationary 90days were up. So the employer had to “fire” me but they kept my my position open. So I returned to work early, because I needed the money, and I did my best, sometimes having to leave work from fatigue/ illness from healing from Emergency Surgery. They said, at first, they wouldn’t count it against me, however they contradicted after a month. Now I left work 3 times on account of that, and once due to a major blinding migraine. I was told I would be disciplined, and possibly won’t get the promotion that they said I would have. Is this normal for an employer, or have they had a change of heart and don’t like me for some reason? I mean, I go to work, I do my job, follow directions, do my best to show my thoughts without seeming like I argue. And yes, I have made mistakes since I was back at work, but they weren’t major, and I learned from them. My job is very rigorous, and requires much attention to detail. Sometimes, we all in our team make mistakes. I just don’t understand why I keep getting told I am being promoted, then when I screw up they tell me, “No.” Does someone in the big cat’s office not like me enough or something?

  35. Brandon Smith says:

    You are in a very awkward position. Because you haven’t had the opportunity for them to see the 100% healthy you, it appears that they can’t quite decide what they think about you. They love you. They question your reliability, etc… My recommendation is to focus on your health as best you can and try to string together some solid months of high performance. That should change your “brand” positively in their eyes and result in a promotion (or at least more positive promotion conversations). If that doesn’t happen at that point, I recommend you start looking for another workplace home.

  36. Melon says:

    I am in my fourth month with this company when I received a poor performance review due to
    1) Sales director refusal to participate in a rehearsal for a company event.
    2) Unable to build strong relationships with sales team.

    I felt both reasons were very subjective but my manager denied that she dislike me.. She told me if I want to stay to work things out, it’s fine. However, if I want to leave, also fine.
    What should I do?

  37. Brandon Smith says:

    I would recommend that you focus on the second point and try to figure out what a “strong relationship” with the sales team looks like. Does anyone seem to do that well? What do they do? If you aren’t sure, ask your manager for any guidance on who you should model yourself after. Assuming you decide to stick this through, the important part will be to provide your manager with regular updates (every quarter) on what you are working on and any progress you are seeing. Of course, the best form of feedback would be members of the sales team telling your manager that you have really made positive progress. See if you can get that to happen and you’ll be in great shape!

  38. Maggie says:

    I am 57 years old. There are 2 of us working, my workmate is only 22 years old. She has no experience in the job at all. Lately seems my boss find small mistakes like I should do things like this or like that… say that that I am already old… For information, I am capable of doing my work and I know what I am doing..I am confuse whether is this the way my boss want to get rid of me? But I still need to work..what should I do?

  39. meli says:

    Ok, so I worked for two doctors for yr and half. I got very tired of the way things were done very unprofessional, I was the office manager and one doc told my receptionist he wanted to know why he had so many appointments and he wanted to know by end of the day. I confronted him about giving a subordinate that message to their supervisor. He stated from that point on he would address me directly and privately. I turned in my resignation the week before I was going to leave I told the doc I was going to announce that to the staff I was leaving, he told me no, it would be announced the day I was leaving. The day before I left I had an early am appt they had the new manager go in and introduce herself while I was out. I was UPSET and i was going to train her but decided since they did me dirty that way I would do the same. So I dropped off the keys and left. Was I wrong?

  40. Jen says:

    I work for a consulting office and I have a unique role in the department I work in. Since it’s a small department me and my immediate supervisor do all of the work. The actual consulting is done by our consultants (independent contractors). But all of the back end/administrative work is done by me and my immediate supervisor. People tend assume I’m his admin/secretary but I am not. I just handle most of the admin tasks because it’s I guess the norm for management to not do administrative work.

    The problem is my supervisor is disorganized, one track minded, forgetful and although he’s great at ideas he has no idea on how to execute things. He’s also bad at communication as he doesn’t explain what needs to happen with certain tasks, he naturally assumes I just “get it”. He expects me to come up to him if I need anything and never sets meetings with me to talk about what my career goals are or developing my skills or anything. He tries to take on any challenging tasks (which i’d love to do) himself. He also asks others from other departments occasionally to help him with things when he should be asking me to help him. Not sure why he doesn’t.

    I do know he doesn’t think I’m incapable, he has admitted I’m very skilled so it makes no sense and he’s very social and silly/goofy with everyone but me. So not only am I feeling like I have to work hard to get the info I need, I also feel neglected because other people find out about his priorities before I do and I’m the one that works with him. I also feel like I’m only doing “busy” work or that he listens to everyone else’s ideas and personal stories and doesn’t really pay attention to mine.

    I’ve tried “managing up” and all it resulted is in me getting taken for granted and enabled his ability to just socialize with everyone else 50% of the time leaving me to figure things out and handling everything by myself. I’ve also tried to be the good employee and being helpful, team player, worked hard and it didn’t improve anything.

    I feel neglected, an outcast and unchallenged. I don’t want to quit because my role is too specialized and I get paid ALOT and I will be unemployed for a long time before I find a similar job that pays just as much. Plus I love what I do. Also talking to him in the past didn’t work because a) he didn’t get it and b) he didn’t agree with me

    Plus he tends to only be harsh on me when it comes to evaluations but gives great evaluations to others when everyone else just chit chats, comes to work late or socializes more than anything or they hardly do anything. I have a close friend at work and I talked to her about this (which I never would recommend talking to a colleague about it) but she doesn’t think it’s a hate thing because she says he praises me all the time and defends me to others and etc. and I told her, he’s never complimented me to my face or anything. He barely makes time for me so I spend most of my time managing myself. I’m like the one person he won’t compliment or say anything good to as about.

    How can I get my supervisor to understand that I not only need to be challenged, appreciated, valued because at this point in time it’s created low morale.

  41. Dave says:

    My boss doesn’t dislike me that I can tell. My problem is that my boss doesn’t know how to be a manager. He former job was what I do. Since coming onboard, he has held no department meetings, and not really taken to being the manager. He has taken over one project that I was the lead on and it is a high profile project with our
    company. I have not been asked to assist with equipment installation that I invented and designed. He has jumped
    in and taken over that work and is ignoring being a manager. I think he just wants to be noticed by upper management as contributor, a doer, and smart enough to do my job. So he excludes me from my own project.
    What do I do?

  42. Brandon Smith says:

    I’m going to recommend something that is going to feel weird and unnatural for you (and probably sound a little crazy at the same time). Here it is: give him praise and appreciation first. The irony about unmet needs is that the only way to get them is to give them. Chasing them never works. The problem is that by the time we really want a need met, we are starving for it and the last thing we want to do is give it away. So, here’s the plan:
    Step 1: Give him appreciation and praise for 1 month (at least 3 times each week – can be a combination of face-to-face, e-mail, voicemail, etc…)
    Step 2: If that doesn’t start to do the trick, sit down with him and say, “I really love my job and working for you. What I am unclear on is the value that I’m bringing and where you see me going in this role. Can we carve out 15 minutes so I can get some feedback on where you see my strengths and what you might see my career path to be? I would greatly appreciate it, especially coming from you.”

    That should do the trick. If not, feel free to shoot me a note directly and I can offer some additional approaches. Good luck!

  43. Brandon Smith says:

    My first question is “how did someone with little to no management expertise get that job?” Ugh… My sympathies. Now, what can you do? Here’s what I recommend. I’m sure you’ve heard the old adage, “keep your friends close and your enemies closer.” That’s the best first strategy. Set up a meeting with him (formal or informal) and say something to this effect: “You are my #1 customer. What can I be doing to make your job easier and to support you?” See how he responds and then based on what he says, you need to do it to show you were listening. I think you’ll find him soften up as he begins to trust you. His behavior is a product of insecurity and low trust in others. Get him feeling safe, supported and with trust in you and you should start to see things change. If not, you’ll need to either start to find ways to communicate what’s going on with his boss or look for another gig, but in the meantime, try my suggestions. Good luck!

  44. Dee says:

    I have been working in the regulatory team of a drug company for 4 years. My manager has been with the company for 16 years (manager for 9). The department has grown from just him to a team of 9 and has doubled in the last year. My boss does not manage the HR role well (we have no HR dept – that is devolved to each manager). His sole concern is to keep senior management happy at any cost (he is jokingly referred to, not by me, as “The reed that bends in the wind”) and he will blame others for his poor decisions/mistakes if senior management are unhappy. The team’s role is to make him look good and to smile and say everything is GREAT! We all spend our days writing cover-my-butt emails in case we get the blame for something. Most of the rest of the team are young and inexperienced and morale is low.

    When I started with the company two out of the three staff had left in a very short time and the one who had stayed was disengaged and mostly surfed the internet. I had come from a role where I had been bullied for three years. I worked hard, ran around putting out fires and contributed a lot technically as I have specialised knowledge in my field. I was ‘the new favourite’ and my boss and I got on well. This isn’t to say that everything was rosy. I quickly realised that the culture is quite difficult, with control and information being restricted by a clique of ‘yes men’ and many information silos. (My manager is a member of the clique.) My boss is very disorganised, reactive, crisis driven, has little attention to detail, is inconsistent in his decisions and a poor communicator. I routinely am not given the correct information to do a task, or information is withheld or the brief is wrong. (He’s very like Jen’s boss in a post above and I note your advice to her.) He is like this with the whole team, not just me. No one’s work is ever good enough. And he sets standards for the technical work that he doesn’t come close to meeting himself.

    After the first couple of years I was finding there were more and more ‘minor’ errors being highlighted to me despite the fact that my job performance (i.e. number of mistakes) had not changed. I never criticised him, backstabbed him or called him out on his poor behaviour. Not even when they restructured and he told all my direct reports and half the company before he told me I was no longer their supervisor. Not when I was made to cancel annual leave at the last minute when someone else got sick, only to have him take that day off as annual leave. I learned that on the rare days that I woke up sick, it was easier to come to work than go through the guilt-trip lengthy phone call about what was in my in tray and was it urgent (20 minutes on the phone, while I was trying not to throw up). I got used to not being told about delays/cancellations to meetings, meetings scheduled in my lunch break, meetings called suddenly just when I was leaving to go home ( 2 hours later…), and my annual review where he yawned all the way through and looked at his two phones every time someone called… and eventually I realised that I was not in the wrong and started to say “No!”. Very, very nicely. He was not happy.

    So now after 4 years our relationship is not so rosy. It’s not ‘bad’ but it’s nowhere near what I would expect from a manager. My manager’s erratic decision making and disorganised behaviour has gotten a lot worse. I no longer speak up to defend him when people comment on his poor performance. I bad mouth him (just like every other one of his team and many people we deal with). He ignores my comments/concerns about potential issues with projects (I raise these every week at our meeting) but acts on them immediately when junior members of the team raise the same issue ONCE. He checks up on most things I tell him. He makes promises to shut me up and then doesn’t follow through. He lies about information I need to do my job.

    I have found myself to be more and more frustrated by the situation. However, he manages upwards particularly well and his network is very strong within the company. He’s in the clique of ‘yes men’ and so is untouchable.There are few roles in my city and now I am considering (at 54) selling up and moving. Where I previously would have been more understanding of my manager’s foibles I now have come to the conclusion that he is just rude, manipulative and unprofessional. All I want to do is manage to keep my sanity until I find another job.

    Sorry this is so long – Where did I go wrong in this work situation – I don’t want to be in this same situation ever again in my working life.

  45. CAS says:

    I am in need of some advice. Please help!
    I have been at my job for 1 1/2 years as a supervisor. Sense I have been there one of the other supervisor’s was promoted to a superintendent, he is now the boss of all 13 supervisors. We still have our same manager above the superintendent, who we all use to report to before the superintendent position was created.
    There are 2 female supervisors (this includes myself) and the rest are males. I am on the midnight shift (3rd shift). My shift ends at 6:00a.m, every supervisor is to report to their department 1/2 before your shift starts to do a walk through with the supervisor you are relieving. Therefore I have a walk through with the afternoon (2nd shift) supervisor, and I also have a walk through with the 1st shift supervisor at 5:30a.m. before I leave my shift. During this walk through it is directed to ALL supervisors to walk through with the previous supervisor to make sure they are not leaving anything out of place before their shift ends. If there is things out of place, we are suppose to point it out and hold that supervisor accountable to get it cleaned up. If that supervisor does not do it then the mess is left for us to clean up our self on our shift.
    The problem I have with my boss is this.
    1. He expects all supervisors to hold another supervisor accountable for doing what he wants done. ( I feel that I am at the same level as any other supervisor and I have NO right holding another supervisor accountable for what OUR boss tells us to do).
    2. The supervisor that I follow is the newest supervisor, 6 months on the job. He is a fast talker and feels that he don’t have to follow directions of our boss. He leaves a mess for me every night. When I point things out I say “what it this, what is that?” He tells me what it is, I then say it needs to be cleaned up before your shift is over so the mess don’t fall on me. He says you are not my boss (rightfully so) and if our supervisor has a problem with it he can come to me. I tell him that I will let our boss know that’s what you told me. He says you do that.
    3. Our boss comes in at 5:00 every morning Mon-Fri ONLY. He will do a walk through with the 3rd shift supervisors (includes my self) ONLY. He does not do a walk through with 1st and 2nd shift, he does not do a walk through with 2nd and 3rd shift. ONLY 3rd shift in the morning. Therefore everything that 1st shift and 2nd shift leaves fall on me (3rd shift). When I try to explain to him that the mess is being left from the other shifts he cut me off and will not let me explain anything. He yells and screams at me out on the production floor in front of the operator’s. I have tried several times to talk to him and let him know what the 2nd shift supervisor says when I tell him to clean up after his shift, and he tells me I need to stop backstabbing other supervisors.
    4. I have tried to talk to our manager about this issue but our manager tells me that he will not step on our superintendents toes. He says he stands behind him and his decisions. I have made HR aware of this ongoing issue, they have suggested that I send out an email to the other supervisor’s letting them know what has been left and copy the email to my boss. The problem with that is, I am afraid that if I do that my boss is once again going to approach me and accuse me of throwing others under the bus and back stabbing (like he has already said I did).
    Is there any advice that you can give to me on how to handle this mess?
    Thank you in advance!

  46. Brandon Smith says:

    First, let me attend to the obvious. Your situation is highly dysfunctional. You’ve definitely been set up to fail by a series of poor leaders around you. Other than the obvious recommendation of finding another job, my other recommendation is this:

    1) No longer complain about the “mess” that is being left by the other supervisors. Rather, before you start your shift, be sure to take pictures / videos to capture evidence of the “mess.” I addition, send the prior supervisor e-mails requesting that he clean up the mess prior to your shift as instructed and see if you can bait him into responding in an e-mail that he refuses to listen to you. Do not copy your boss or other supervisors. Just keep it between the two of you. You’ll be more likely to get him to respond, thus giving you evidence.

    2) While you are gathering evidence, clean up the mess and be sure to leave your work space spotless.

    3) After at least 1 month of this behavior, set up a formal meeting with your boss and explain that you are happy to continue to clean up the other supervisor’s messes without any complaint, but your boss needs to be aware of extra work that cleaning up for the prior supervisor is causing you and how that is impacting your ability to get your work done. At that point show your boss the evidence you have collected (e-mails, photos, etc…). Suggest that if your boss could make one surprise appearance before your shift, he could see it for himself. Hopefully that would stop the behavior and allow you to solely focus on your job.

    If your boss is reasonable, that approach will work. If it doesn’t work, you have your true answer. Time to find another job.

    Good luck!

  47. CAS says:

    I want to start off by thanking you for the very good advice! It seems that I have been advised these same things from my manager in the past. However I have done what you have suggested, email the other supervisor one on one asking him to work with me and letting him know what was left. He did thank me for not through out E bombs (emails to the whole plant). However his behavior has continued. Last night was a perfect example, but this time my hilo drive was so upset that she keeps having to clean up from his shift that she personally confronted him and pointed out the mess before I could get a chance to do it. She was not as polite as I was to say the least. He started walking around taking pictures himself of the mess his shift left and apologized to her.
    Just when I think things are getting better, something else hits me in the face.
    Our boss is constantly sending out emails to all of us supervisors about not holding the employees accountable for there cycle time on the machines and following plant rules. He has threated us that if we didn’t start hold these employee’s accountable that we our selves with start being written up. We are a union plant and things are tough to deal with for us supervisor. I have been there a little over a year and I have issued about 8 write ups to employees that have violated plant rules. All of my write ups were summit with strong proof. All have stuck through HR and the union.
    I had an employee that that violated his cycle time to the extreme on Wed of this week. I followed the process, gathered all the documents and sent an email to HR and my boss with the information (this is the process). I waited for a response from HR for directions on issuing the write up. The email said HR will get back with you about issuing the write but to inform the EE that he will be issued a write up. This write up put the EE at a disqualification step (which means removal from our plant and sent to another plant). So it was a big write up. I waited until the morning until HR and my boss was there before I informed the EE of the write up. After I informed the EE of the write up, he was irate, he went to the union office. The union chairmen went to my boss and talked to him. After about 15 minutes my boss came to me and ask me if this EE has ever worked on this station before. I told him yes and the training matrix is signed off from Feb of last year that he was trained on the station and that he was signed off as he could train others on the station. My boss then directed me not to issue the write up. I paused looked at him for a minute and said ok I will do as you directed. I was very upset and confused. We are getting threating emails that if we didn’t start holding the EE’s accountable that we would get a write up. And now he back peddled on his directions. I had to inform HR of the directions that was giving to me, because HR was read to hold a meeting to issue this discipline. I did not tell HR who gave me the directions, I just replied back to the email stating “I was given directions to not issue the write up”. HR replied back and ask who gave these directions. I did not reply back to them but my boss did and said he gave me the directions. HR replied back and said that all of upper management just had a meeting (which he was in) regarding all supervisors to hold EE’s accountable. And stated in the email that there were confused about why I was giving these directions.
    Before I left on Thursday morning as I was walking pass my managers office (our BIG boss) he called me in his office. Something I never do is talk to my manager the reason being is because our superintendent gets VERY upset to see one of us supervisors talking to our manager. He has made commits to me and other that we are going behind his back and talking to HIS boss. So I in all causes avoid his/our big boss. When the manager called me in the office he told me we did a good job on the production numbers last night. He then ask me what the update was in regards to issuing the write up. I told him HR send out an email, he opened his email, read it and then ask me what I though about it. I told him that I did not agree with the way it was handle because we are being held accountable to hold the EE’s accountable but when we try to follow the directions we are told to do differently. I told him I was confuse on which way to go with things. He said he was going to talk to my boss to find out what was going on and why he made his choice not to issue the write up. I was very short conversation with him because I knew if my other boss was to see me in his office he was going to be upset. I didn’t even sit down I stood at the doorway. Sure enough my boss came walking up to the door, looked me in the eye and didn’t say a word. I said good morning and said Jason was just asking me what the update was about the write up. he shook his head yes and I told them both I was tired and had to get home. All day at home I knew I was in for it for talking to our manager.
    This morning I had a bigger issue that hit me out of nowhere with my boss.
    Two days ago I got my performance review had a one on one meeting with my boss and he went over my review. It was quit a surprise. It was a very good performance review. He commented on the improvements my depart has had. gave me good scores in 16 areas. all in all a good review. I have emails sent not only from him but from my manager as well as the plant manager, thanking me on my departments performance. I received a increase in my pay and a printed copy of the review.
    Well this morning, my boss was acting out of the norm. He did not come to my department to do the walk through that he does faithfully every morning, he did not say good morning to me. He walked right passed me without a word. 10 minutes before my shift ended he called me and said I need you to come to the conference room. I said okay. When I got to the conference room he was sitting in there by himself. The first thing he said was “we need to have a heart to hear talk.” He began to say that things are not looking good for me. I was dumbfounded. I said I’m not understanding what you are meaning. He started saying you are going behind my back to MY boss and backstabbing me. I have been being told by other supervisors things that I don’t like. I ask if he could give me some examples of what he is being told. He said I have to talk to a few more supervisors to get more details. I said this meeting does not look like it is going very well and I ask him if I could get our manager in her. He said NO, I said then can I get HR in here because I don’t have a good feeling about this meeting. He got very upset and said HELL NO. He began to scream at me saying your performance in failing bad, I am about ready to move you and take you up to HR. I started to speak and he cut me off, told me to shut up and just listen to what he had to say before he walks me out of there. I sat there for about 5 minutes listening to him scream at me. He said I don’t know what you got going on at home or what’s been going on with you but lately you are pushing the line. I said I don’t have nothing going on at home, I don’t have no clue to where all this is coming form and the only thing that is going on is that you are constantly on me and ONLY ME about other peoples faults. I told him the he is not here to see what I come into everyday all you see is what is at the end of my shift. I told him he treats me differently from the male supervisors and they ALL see it and make commits to me about how you treat and talk to me. I said how do you think that makes me feel everyday when you come screaming at me out on the floor in front of the operators. How do you think it makes me feel when the 2nd shift supervisor is calling me YOUR wife because I ask him to clean up his mess. Something you are directing me to do. Something that I have no right to do (directing another supervisor and holding another supervisor accountable). I said I am not any other supervisors boss but yet you put me in the middle of it and then you come back at me telling me I don’t get along with the other supervisors. I said if my performance was a concern then why did you just give me a good performance review 2 days ago. Why have I been getting e mails from you, the manager and the plant manager thanking me for my performance? I told him I was very confused. He said you tried writing up an employee that didn’t hit his cycle time and he wasn’t even trained on the job. I told him the EE has worked on the job many times he is signed off on the training matrix from last year. I said you sent out emails threating us that if we didn’t start holding the accountable that we were going to get written up. And now you are telling me I am in the wrong for following your directions. I ask him which way do you want me to go? He said from now on I will make the decision on weather a write up will be issued or not. I said that’s fine I don’t have a problem with that If that’s what you want. But I don’t want it to come back at me making it look like I can not make my own decisions. Needless to say that meeting went on for 1 1/2 hours. It was not good. I am totally lost from here and don’t know how to handle this ongoing issue with him. I though about talking to HR but I am afraid that retaliation will set in. I am positive it will with him seeing his has such a huge issue with us talking to HIs boss. It is not fair to me that I have to be put through this situation. The is a very good paying job and 4 minutes from my home. My manager (his boss) is only hearing one side of the story (HIS side) but again I am in fear he will come a me harder and harder if I were to go to our manager about his. I have NO issues with anyone else in that place except this one person and he is my boss. The 2nd shift supervisor and I talk go to breaks and just BS, it not like we don’t get along its JUST his work ethics that is an issue. Any more advice on how to handle this?

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