Even leading professionals know their manager won’t always be happy with all of their contributions. However, there is a big difference between receiving constructive criticism that can help you improve and having a boss who is actively working against you.
Unfair treatment, regularly being singled out for the slightest missteps, being denied access to projects even if you have the skills required to handle the work, or having every deliverable examined under a microscope could all indicate your manager isn’t focused on helping you succeed.
Similarly, holding a grudge after a single misstep or frequently asking you to take on tasks that don’t align with your skills (without offering sufficient training or access to resources), could suggest your manager isn’t working with you. Instead, their actions might be a way to undermine your capabilities, harm your reputation, or limit your career potential.
If your boss is continuously singling you out or treating you unfairly, here’s how to address the situation.
Don’t Immediately File a Complaint
Unless you are the target of harassment or threats that are clearly prohibited either by law or based on internal policies, going straight to HR and filing a complaint often isn’t the best choice. It is a fairly extreme move and, if you are misjudging your manager’s motives or intentions, could quickly backfire.
Similarly, going to your manager’s boss is also risky if the issue isn’t clearly harassment or related to real threats. When you use this approach, you are making assumptions about the nature of your treatment in many cases, particularly if you haven’t spoken to your manager about what you are experiencing.
Schedule a Meeting With Your Boss
Instead of going over your manager’s head right away, it’s wise to schedule a one-on-one meeting with them to discuss the issue. This ensures a bit of privacy and gives your boss the benefit of the doubt, allowing you to explore whether their intentions might have been skewed by their delivery.
Before the meeting, make sure to adjust your mindset. You don’t want to accuse your manager of wrongdoing. Instead, prepare yourself to view the situation from their perspective.
Then, when you enter the meeting, focus on asking your boss to clarify their expectations and give you insight into how you can improve. This allows you to take at least partial ownership of the situation and gives your manager a chance to clarify their intentions while opening the door for clear guidance. As a result, you won’t come off as confrontational, but as a concerned employee who wants to improve their performance.
This also makes the meeting a conversation instead of a one-way street. You can work with your manager to find a resolution that is mutually beneficial, instead of going on the attack.
Reevaluate the Situation
Once you have agreed on a solution, monitor the situation to see if it improves. After you begin acting on your manager’s recommendations, they may start working with you more, and things may improve.
However, if the situation remains the same or gets worse even after you try to meet your manager’s expectations, you may need to take further action. This could include getting HR or their boss involved, but that is only a path you should explore if you have evidence to showcase the issue.
Otherwise, finding a new job might be the easiest way to remove yourself from the situation. This is especially true if the environment is toxic overall and filing a complaint proves ineffective.
If you would like to know more or are seeking out new employment opportunities, the team at The Advance Group can help. Contact us to speak with a member of our staff today and see how we can help, or search our open jobs in Michigan and Ohio.