Is it just communication problems or does my boss think I'm incompetent?
September 23, 2011 7:24 AM Subscribe
Do I have a chip on my shoulder or is my boss underestimating me? Or maybe it's both?
posted by anonymous to Human Relations (15 answers total) 5 users marked this as a favorite
I have been in my position for nearly six months. My boss was promoted from my position to manager when I was hired. We work very closely together, often working side by side most of the day. He is from another country and I often wonder if we are having cultural/language communication problems. I've figured out that he has a bad memory and that is why he often tells me the same thing repeatedly which is something I initially found off putting. I feel that he is often criticizing my work so vaguely that we have to have several back and forths before I can even figure out what he's trying to tell me. I would rather just be told directly what he thinks.
Sorry for the awkwardness of general terms, this is anonymous for a reason, but it does make the stories a bit clumsy.
Here are some recent examples of incidents:
-I loaned a piece of equipment to one of our coworkers. Later my boss asked me which one I loaned out. There are two types of the same equipment, one of which would have potentially been a disaster had it been used for that purpose. They are clearly marked with large labels. I told him which one I had leant the coworker. He basically kept asking me in a way that forced me to go get it and physically show him that I had leant out the correct item- on which the type is clearly labeled. I was mystified that he could even think I would confuse them. After I showed him he was like well you have to be careful, it could have been really bad etc.
-Another example: I completed a fairly large task on my own. Later that day, he came by and said 'you know you have to be careful,' and I was kind of irritated and tried to get him to articulate exactly what he was concerned about, because he clearly seemed to think I had done something questionable, but I couldn't discern what. (This is something that happens regularly, I suspect he is trying to be nice by being vague, but I find it very unhelfpul). So I took him to look at what I had done and it turned out that of the approx. 50 that I had done he thought one had been handled questionably, and I explained why it was necessary to do that one that way and he seemed satisfied. But I was just left with this feeling that he doesn't really think I'm competent.
-Additionally, sometimes at department meetings he will basically take credit for something I did on my own, so far it has been really small things, so it's not like it makes him look great, it more just seems strange that he would even bother to claim he was responsable for it- or that he literally sees me/my work as an extension of himself?
So, is it just me or is he being disrespectful? What is the best way to approach my boss? How can I change my behavior?