How to convey to my boss that I'm not incompetent?
November 28, 2012 2:58 PM Subscribe
Despite my otherwise agreeable work environment, I have a boss who's increasingly scolding me for following standard procedures and doing my job as normal.
posted by anonymous to Work & Money (9 answers total) 2 users marked this as a favorite
He's quite hard-headed and, in my experience, very hesitant to admit his own mistakes, and knowing this, I don't tend to argue or belabor the point when reprimanded -- I typically just apologize, while asking to verify (in writing) that he wishes me to deviate from standard procedure, and proceed to make any adjustments as instructed. (Much of what I do is invoicing clients and receiving payments, so "standard procedure" is a big part of the job -- My apologies for the repetition of the phrase in the paragraphs ahead.)
If his tone was along the lines of "This is a special circumstance, and I need you to do X this time instead of Y" I'd think nothing of it. But instead, his tone more like "I rely on you to do X correctly, and I'm alarmed and upset that you've made this mistake."
My need to be "right" is not an issue -- I have a minimum of ego tied up in this job, and he is, after all, the boss. As far as I'm concerned, he gets what he wants, and I pride myself in owning any mistakes I make. My only concern is that by acquiescing so readily, he may start to view me as incompetent, or at the very least, as someone who isn't confident of his own ability to do his job.
So, the question is: Do I begin to make more of an effort to state (politely) why the action(s) I'm being scolded for shouldn't be considered an error on my part, at the risk of seeming difficult, or like someone who's avoiding responsibility for his mistakes?
Or do I continue as-is, simply apologizing and deviating from procedure as requested, and risk being seen as someone who doesn't know what he's doing?
As I say, he's always very hesitant to admit any errors on his part, so I never expect him to say "Oh, you were right, my mistake." I really only want him to know that I know what I'm doing, even if he's too proud to admit it.
I should make clear that my boss is in no way attempting to intimidate me, nor is he making my workplace in any way "hostile." It's ultimately a minor thing, and he's otherwise a very good guy to work for. I'm mostly concerned about how this will affect any future salary negotiations or job references I might need.
Also: My competence isn't a question, as my job is very rote and straight forward, and our standard procedures are such for a reason. I just have many duties largely removed from his attention, so when an unusual circumstance arises, it's frequently not communicated to me until it's too late. (And I've explained that he needs to communicate these things to me ahead of time, but it's made no difference.)