I’ve had the opportunity to coach hundreds of workers in various stages of the job search process. If they are unhappy at work, nearly all of them focus their complaints around the relationship they have with their boss.
Once we delve more deeply, however, we discover the real situation may turn out to be a less-than-perfect job fit, lack of motivation, a mismatch in skills or values — or any number of other reasons. It’s simply that “the boss” is the easiest, most available place to lay the blame for on-the-job discontent.
People dislike their jobs more often than they love them. As a friend used to say, “That’s why they call it work.” My sincere belief is that you can find happiness in your work.
If you don’t feel this energized by your job, it’s time to take a look at yourself, your skills, the job market and your options. It’s time to quit whining, start planning and begin taking charge of your life and your career. You have a job. You are not owned by the company or management. You have free will to take your time, energy and talents elsewhere.
Before you bolt for another job, though, it might be a good idea to figure out what’s wrong where you are. It takes the average American 7.2 months to find a job. Few of us have savings (or want to spend them) to tide us over during a 7-month job search.
By changing the way you SEE your boss, you may be able to improve the relationship. As your attitude changes, your actions will change, too. Here are 5 quick ideas to start implementing right away:
Have a little empathy. Hey, I know you have pressure at work. Don’t forget that your boss has more. She is responsible for her work, your work and the work of all her team members. Anyone makes a mistake, it’s on her. The pressure she delivers to the team is probably directly proportional to the heat she’s getting in those management meetings.
Communicate the way your boss likes to. Some bosses like to pop in every morning. He might prefer a weekly check-in. Others want an email each day or week. Face-to-face is better if you are trying to improve the relationship. Phone can be refreshingly fast and easy. Email and texts might be preferred. ASK how you can communicate more effectively, then do it!
Increase communication. If you want a better partnership, you need to increase the quantity and quality of your messages. Be sure your messages are complete and accurate. Go beyond the requested communication. If you have a problem, present a possible solution. Try not to over-dramatize, or make every event a catastrophe. Don’t forget to send along happy messages – compliments or saves – so that there’s a greater proportion of good rather than troubling messages.
Update your resume. The process of writing your achievements in your current job will get you in touch with the successes you have had at work. It will also help you realize some of the talents you use every day that are different from your boss’s. Remember, it’s her job to manage results, and your talents make all that possible. Over time, you can call attention to your results, and perhaps get some appreciation from the boss.
Fill in where the boss can’t or won’t. Sometimes, bosses give you responsibility without direct delegation. When you see an opening, a gap, or a need to be addressed, step in and do the work. You might want to ask first, but in most cases, filling in is appreciated and a great way to win your boss’s trust and confidence.
PS: Even if you improve your relationship, you might want to move on to better things. If you need help, I’m here for you. Let’s discuss in a free Career Review. Schedule yours here.