Question to Ask the Workplace Doctors about a Boss that Hassles You
I work for my neighbor’s dad at a supermarket and he is always getting on me more than the other workers at the store. The way we communicate with each other isn’t conducive for a productive working environment. An example of this unfair treatment is when I see other employees slacking off and doing nothing he doesn’t say anything to them, but when I do it, he is says, “Jon, why are you not doing what you are supposed to do?” Also my boss would give me a warning saying, “If I catch you slacking off their will be consequences.” The way the boss acted towards me has made wonder if I made a mistake taking this job. Which leads me to my question of what is the best way for me to improve this relationship between me and my boss?
Signed, Between Me and My Boss
Dear Between Me and My Boss:
In the workplace in previous jobs I have had supervisors or leadership who seemed to either favor or not favor an employee. The one thing I’ve found is when I feel that someone doesn’t understand me, or believe in my work product, the most effective thing you can do is show that person you care. When someone who seems to often disagree with you realizes you care about your work product and, most importantly, that you care about the business, they start to trust you. Once you earn their trust, they seem to give you more space and responsibility.
Sometimes, if it’s a part time job, or something you don’t see yourself doing it long term, it’s harder to show that. I would suggest trying to offer helpful suggestions any time you can, making sure you put extra time into tasks even when they’re small, and find out what he is very adamant about. A boss may have pet peeves or small things he wants or expects; if you show him you put extra effort into those things he cares about, he may realize you understand where he’s coming from or at least respect him enough to try to make what he wants to happen.
Think about what you would do if you owned the store, what would you do to cut wasted supplies, wasted time, wasted energy and wasted money. Talk to him about ideas you have to do that and you will be surprised about how he praises, rather that hassles you to quit slacking. Be a cheerleader to your coworkers. Say, “Let’s make this place the cleanest and friendliest supermarket you’ve ever seen?” That kind of spirit is what will make you feel like you really do own the place. Working together with hands, head, and heart takes and makes big WEGOS.
Andrew Orgal, Guest Respondent, and William Gorden