How do you deal with a boss that constantly puts you down?


Our response:

This is very challenging. Bosses who constantly put us down lower our confidence. And we need confidence to address difficult challenges!

But it is also a great opportunity for you to raise your confidence through expressing how this lowers your enthusiasm, creativity and productivity. (You don't have to know how to do this, only a willingness to learn how to do it is required.)

Before you speak with your boss, ask yourself: What is the worst thing that can happen if I speak up? How will I handle my life if that happens? Having a plan for the worst possible outcome builds our willingness to create change. You are clearly “not OK” with what is happening, and you want to create change, so creating a willingness inside of yourself to take reasonable risks to further this change is important.

When you have the conversation with your boss, start by explaining that you want to discuss something that has to do with your productivity but that you think might be a sensitive matter. Make sure it is a good time. By laying this foundation, you create “safety” for a difficult conversation. As you express your concerns and your experience, speak in the context of supporting the company goals and what will assist you to stay productively engaged in working toward these goals.

If your boss reacts negatively, use emotional empathy skills. Emotions need to be heard and understood (not fixed). Affirm your desire to maintain a good relationship and work productively toward important goals. Slow down…stay in relationship…stay clear about the importance of having this conversation. Ask if there is a way you can raise the issue differently. Both backbone and heart are required to have difficult conversations. You will either have a win, or you will learn something that will enable you to have a win the next time a conservation like this is required!


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