My boss Is Acting Strangely Towards Me

Question to Ask the Workplace Doctors about sensing a distance from new boss:

I started a new job about 6 weeks ago. It was a tough start as it was in a new country, new internal consultancy role and the initial environment was very toxic with little induction or management/colleague support. I still managed to get a good relationship going with my internal clients, which has continued.

We all now have a new overall director and the environment is changing for the good. I have, however, probably come across a bit tired and jaded after this initial tough period, which has had had an impact on my energy and perhaps other people’s perception. I feel I can get my energy back and getted focused, after Christmas.

However very recently my boss, who has been initially friendly started acting strangely towards me. I got some quite neutral disengaged looks in comparison to my colleagues. I have not moved completely from my home country yet and am thinking a) what can I do to turn the situation around b) is this worth it as I was given such a tough start, I would rather come out of this with my head held high. I’m feeling quite stressed, since even though I overcame some big hurdles in very difficult circumstances, which I didn’t complain about, they are now going to give me the push! I have one more week before the Xmas holidays start.

Signed, Worried

Dear Worried:

You don’t say that you have talked to your director about this situation, yet that is the only way you can find out what she is thinking and why she seems to feel disengaged toward you. You could ask to talk to her about work, then simply ask, “Ms. Green, I’ve been feeling lately as though you don’t want to talk to me or are having bad feelings about me and my work. I’d like to talk to you about that.”

That may not be exactly what you would say, but it gives you the idea about being brief and direct. You quickly get the topic out in the open and your director will either reassure you that she didn’t mean to come across negatively toward you, or she will use that as an opportunity to tell you that she is concerned about some aspect of your work performance or your behavior.You mentioned feeling as though you are lacking in energy and focus and think you can get that back after Christmas.

It could be that your tough start at the company has made you feel depressed and upset, even more than usual. If you have access to a counselor or someone local you could use as an adviser and counselor, you would benefit from talking to them about this. They would probably be much more helpful than we could be and could be an ongoing support as well.

If there is even one person at work with whom you feel close, perhaps you could ask for their input. We have received hundreds of letter from people who avoid a coworker or employee because of something related to the actions of the person, their hygiene, their odd behavior or something else. It could be that there is something that you aren’t aware about that a friend could tell you about. Apparently you are at a decision time about whether you should move from your home country or not. It would be a shame to make a decision without finding out what is going on. You may also be able to easily correct problems or make adjustments that could help your relationship with your director and others. Or, perhaps the director has not meant to behave unusually towards you and talking to her will remind her to be aware of her communications.You’ve managed to hold on through tough times in the last few weeks.

I’m hoping you can use that inner strength to talk about this openly and find some answers before the Christmas holiday. At least you would know and you could have made some plans with the director about what will happen after the holidays. Sometimes just knowing can take pressure off a person. You deserve that kind of peace of mind and I hope you will do what it takes to accomplish it.Best wishes to you with this. If you have the time and wish to do so, let us know what happens.

Tina Lewis Rowe

Tina Lewis Rowe

Tina had a thirty-three year career in law enforcement, serving with the Denver Police Department from 1969-1994 and was the Presidential United States Marshal for Colorado from 1994-2002. She provides training to law enforcement organizations and private sector groups and does conference presentations related to leadership, workplace communications and customized topics. Her style is inspirational with humor.