My Supervisor Demeaned My Abilities

Question to Ask theĀ  Workplace Doctors about doubts about a subordinate’s judgement:

I recently had to sit on an interview panel in place of my supervisor who was not available. We were interviewing representatives of companies who were bidding on work and someone had to represent my supervisor to ensure that each representative was treated consistently. Once the interviews were conducted my supervisor told me it should be interesting to see who the winning bidder is because he believes my rating of the bidder will be questionable.

My issue is, why such a statement? Is he implying that I don’t have knowledge on the subject because I am an administrator? If that is the way he feels, I think it is insulting to my intelligence and it is a very bad statement to make. I’m wondering what to do about it.

Signed, Feeling Put Down

DearĀ Feeling Put Down:

I can see why you might wonder what your supervisor meant by his statement. It seems you were not the only person doing the interviewing, so you probably couldn’t sway the rest of the panel to the point of picking someone not qualified. Further, if he asked you to represent him he should have given you some guidelines and quick training if he felt you weren’t qualified to contribute fully to the selection process.It would also seem that you two must not have a very good relationship if he would make such a statement and if you wouldn’t feel comfortable immediately asking him about it.

You really do only have two options now: Wonder or Ask. So, maybe you can use this to not only clarify what he meant but also to show your desire to grow and learn and to reinforce to him your capabilities.You might chat with him about the position being bid and say, “It was interesting to be part of the interview, so I hope I get to do that again. What do you think is the main thing an interviewer needs to know or do to be effective?” Get him talking about the process and you might hear some of his thoughts about your role.If he doesn’t let you know on his own, you could be more direct: “You said my rating will be questionable. Why do you think that?” That conversation may allow you to discuss how you rated and how you were accepted by the other raters.You may find out he was not talking badly about your intelligence, as it seemed to you, but rather only about your knowledge of the particular job being bid. That would be logical and not something that should be considered insulting.Or, you might find out he wasn’t thinking about how his statement sounded and he didn’t really mean it badly. Maybe he will apologize or explain further, maybe he won’t. But, at least you will have opened up a conversation about it.It may be that your manager has negative feelings to match his remarks. If he feels that way about you he should assist you in becoming more skillful about the interview process or the work being bid. Maybe you can ask him what he suggests to get you up to the level he thinks is needed.Above all, this can be a reminder that two people can work together but still not communicate clearly to each other. That’s why talking, listening, clarifying and restating are needed in most conversations, to avoid situations like this one.Best wishes in getting your questions answered directly and in a way that is more encouraging than the original comments!

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.