Boss is dis­mis­sive and rude — should I tell him?

Spring­ing com­plaints on him in 360-de­gree re­view could be dicey.

Los Angeles Times - - WORK LIFE - By Karla L. Miller Karla Miller writes a col­umn about work dra­mas and trau­mas for the Wash­ing­ton Post.

Ques­tion: My new boss, con­sid­er­ably younger than I am, is un­com­mu­nica­tive and dis­mis­sive. He acts rudely to­ward me and avoids any work in­ter­ac­tion other than “do this.”

When I ask ques­tions, he’ll say, “I emailed you a doc­u­ment about that weeks ago.” Once, he called my co­worker into his of­fice from our shared of­fice, then sent her back to give me his in­struc­tions.

A month ago, he de­manded an un­fin­ished draft of a strate­gic plan. This week, to my sur­prise, he was an­gry be­cause I had not up­dated it while he was re­view­ing.

In my 25-plus years as a pro­fes­sional, both ju­nior and se­nior col­leagues have said I’m a great team player, men­tor and work friend. I am used to ex­chang­ing ideas, pick­ing apart risks and ben­e­fits, etc., with se­nior lead­er­ship. Now, if I ex­press an opin­ion dif­fer­ent from the cur­rent boss’, he gets up­set. I am in­creas­ingly in­clined to be­lieve that age is a fac­tor in his treat­ment of me.

When I in­ter­viewed with this boss, he posed seem­ingly rude ques­tions such as whether I could “get along” with mil­len­ni­als. Ev­ery­one else re­port­ing to him is sig­nif­i­cantly younger than I am. His be­hav­ior is di­rected only at me and has been no­ticed by my col­leagues. I don’t think he has ever su­per­vised peo­ple.

Our 360-de­gree re­views are com­ing up. I think I’m go­ing to lie and give him av­er­age to above-av­er­age re­views, but is that re­ally help­ful?

An­swer: Hol­low praise helps no one. But what­ever your boss’ is­sues — per­haps he’s the one who can’t “get along ” with some­one out­side his age group, or per­haps he’s de­fen­sive be­cause work­place mil­len­ni­als get such a bad rap — spring­ing your com­plaints on him in a re­view, es­pe­cially if they hint at il­le­gal dis­crim­i­na­tion, is not an ef­fec­tive ap­proach, ei­ther.

If you think it’s worth try­ing to “man­age up” and see if he even­tu­ally re­al­izes what oth­ers al­ready seem to know about you, you could pos­i­tively frame cri­tiques in his re­view to en­cour­age pre­ferred be­hav­iors: “Con­tin­ual di­rect feed­back from boss on as­sign­ments would make it eas­ier to meet his ex­pec­ta­tions.”

In the mean­time, when you seek his feed­back out­side the re­view process, em­pha­size that you’re ask­ing ques­tions not to chal­lenge or un­der­mine him, but to bet­ter un­der­stand what he needs from you. And dou­blecheck your as­sump­tions — “Should I hold off work­ing on this un­til you fin­ish re­view­ing?”

If he’s a new man­ager, this could be a valu­able learn­ing ex­pe­ri­ence for him. But just in case he’s not re­cep­tive to up­ward man­age­ment — or if you find your­self con­tin­u­ally hav­ing to prove your­self to an ap­par­ent pas­sive-ag­gres­sive child tyrant — you should doc­u­ment your ex­pe­ri­ences, start­ing with the in­ter­view, and con­sider tak­ing your ex­pe­ri­ence where it will be ap­pre­ci­ated.

Pro tip: Al­though 360-de­gree re­views are sup­posed to be anony­mous to en­cour­age hon­esty, you should as­sume the re­cip­i­ent will guess who wrote it and word your cri­tiques ac­cord­ingly. Don’t write any­thing you can’t back up with ex­am­ples.

Getty Im­ages/iS­tock­photo

EVEN WHEN a re­view is sup­posed to be anony­mous, as­sume the re­cip­i­ent will guess who wrote it.

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from USA

© PressReader. All rights reserved.