Poor relationship with boss spells trouble

Are you kidding yourself into thinking you are just having simple "communication problems" with your manager? You may be one of the people who end up being laid off or put on a shelf because you never took the time to really analyze your relationship.

Take the temperature of your relationship by evaluating the following:

1.      How many times in a typical month does your boss call you or stop in to get an opinion about something?
(If it's less than once per week, your boss may not view you as an important part of the team.)

2.      How does your boss typically communicate with you? Memo? Note? Message with your secretary? Formal meeting? Casual and frequent visits? (If your boss communicates through memos and handwritten notes, when he could just as easily speak to you in person, you could be in serious trouble. The more casual your relationship is, the better.)

3.      How much negative feedback does your boss give you? Constantly finding fault? Criticizes you in public? Occasionally makes suggestions? Mentions the same fault over and over? Never has a bad word to say?
(If your boss cares enough about you to make suggestions and tells you about things you need to correct, count your blessings; he or she wants you to succeed. If you never hear anything negative, go ask for some constructive criticism. You can't improve unless you know what to work on. If the same fault is mentioned over and over, make an appointment and ask for help in solving it...or you could get fired.)

4.      Do you and your boss agree about the main duties of your job and the time you spend doing them? (If you don't, you are in serious trouble. No matter who is right or wrong, you will lose this one.)

5.      How does your boss act when you disagree with him or her? Accepts it? Insists on winning the argument? Resents it? You don't dare disagree? (If you disagree more than two or three times a year, you need to communicate more. If you challenge your boss frequently, you will be labeled "difficult." If your boss's reaction to you during times of disagreement is anger, examine your own behavior; you may be overstepping your bounds.)

6.      Does your boss take time to listen to you? Never? Asks you to put it in a memo? Allows interruptions from others? Usually tries to listen intently? (If you can't get your boss's ear, there is a problem. If your suggestions are brushed off or ignored, you could be in trouble.)

7.      Does your boss hog the credit for work you've done? Occasionally? Always? (A boss who does this will not give you much visibility in the company. It's appropriate for your boss to take some of the credit for work done by you and your work unit but if it's more than occasionally, find a new boss.)

8.      Do people from your area ever get promoted? Does your boss help and coach you? (If the answer is "no" to both questions, what are you waiting for? Get out!)

9.      Does your boss "forget" to tell you about information that the rest of your peers know? (If you are left out of the communication channels, your job is in jeopardy. This is especially true if you used to get the information and now you're not.)

10. Does your boss take action on your complaints and concerns? (If your boss doesn't get back to you with answers to concerns you have, you are low on his or her priority list.)

Now go back through the list and evaluate the same items but do it from two other co-workers' points of view. Choose a peer who is the top performer and a middle ranked co-worker and answer the questions as they would answer them.

Compare the results. If your boss treats you more negatively than he or she treats them, you are in trouble. These early warning signals should not be ignored.

Joan Lloyd is a Milwaukee based executive coach and organizational & leadership development strategist. She is known for her ability to help leaders and their teams achieve measurable, lasting improvements. Joan Lloyd & Associates, specializes in leadership development, organizational change and teambuilding, providing: executive coaching, CEO coaching & leader team coaching, 360-degree feedback processes, retreat facilitation and presentation skill coaching and small group labs. Contact Joan Lloyd & Associates at (414) 573-1616, mailto:info@joanlloyd.com, or www.JoanLloyd.com 
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