I have a problem I've encountered a couple times. It's a habit of mine to be early, stay a few minutes late every day and not extend lunch hours unreasonably. I learn from my mistakes, adapt quickly and am proactive in the workplace. The problem is the last two places I've worked; it seems like I've had a team leader that treats me better when I do bad and bad when I do well. I'm going through this again, but I don't want to make the same mistake. In the past, I've taken the "complaints" and busted my butt even harder. WRONG! That just makes them angrier at me. I know it's wrong, but it feels like I need to dumb myself down instead of going full force. Anyway out of this problem?

Our response:

This is a peculiar challenge and somewhat counterintuitive. We appreciate why you’d be stymied.

When stymied or confused, a great approach is to ask for feedback. "What am I doing that is working to support the team's effectiveness? What could I do differently to raise the team's effectiveness?"

Sometimes we can feel competitive when we think others are attempting to outshine us. Listen for whether any of that is going on. Listen to see whether your efforts are appreciated. If they are not, bring it up, as in “I feel I am proactive….do you agree with that assessment, and does it add value to what we are doing?” Keeping lines of communication open will smooth out friction that shows up when people work together.