Dear Working Wise:
My supervisor is always on my case about everything, he never has anything good to say, he’s always complaining. Is he allowed to do that? It almost seems like harassment. What can I do? Signed, Worn-out worker
It is hard to tell from your letter if your supervisor is like this with everyone or just you.
If he is like this with everyone, you might want to gather your co-workers together to discuss his management and communication styles with him.
If it seems like he is only picking on you, you might need to meet with him to discuss your performance and how he communicates with you. Try asking him to narrow down his top three concerns and then agree to work on them and meet soon to discuss the progress that both of you have made.
Getting specific and meeting frequently will allow both of you to see that you are both committed to improving your working relationship.
You might also want to give some thought to your attitude at work. A positive attitude is one of the most important things you can bring to work with you every day. Would your supervisor and co-workers say that you:
o Are dependable/responsible/punctual;
o Are honest and keep your promises;
o Organize your work and keep up with it;
o Follow directions and ask questions when necessary;
o Take responsibility for your mistakes;
o Can accept criticism without resenting it;
o Recognize your weaknesses and try to correct them;
o Are enthusiastic about what you do;
o Are courteous and polite, even when you are unhappy;
o Dress appropriately for your workplace;
o Can handle mild teasing and control your temper;
o Respect other people's opinions/beliefs;
o Are optimistic even when others are not;
o Easily adapt to new/unexpected situations;
o Do not become negative when things don’t go your way;
o Can disagree without being disagreeable;
o Are a courteous driver;
o Usually speak positively about others;
o Find it easy to like most people;
o Avoid feeling sorry for yourself;
o Take an interest in others.
Try asking your supervisor what pressures he or she is under? Knowing where your supervisor is coming from and what his/her priorities are will help you better understand their demands and how you can help.
Do you have a work-related question? Send your questions to Working Wise, at firstname.lastname@example.org. Charles Strachey is a manager with Alberta Human Services. This column is provided for general information.