Bewildered worker left clueless
Q: I have been employed several years now. Everything seemed okay until recently when my department got a new manager. He is quick to accuse and reprimand me publicly without asking me questions to clarify any problems. This leaves me bewildered because my exemplary work ethic is one thing I pride myself on. I don't have a clue as to what to do next.
A: You should be commended on cultivating an exemplary work ethic of which you can be proud. It would seem it met the standards of the previous manager.
We are going to assume that the new manager's accusations and reprimands have to do with your work.
It would be best if you sat down with him and try to understand him and try to get him to understand you. This will ease the tension between you both, as people who are working in proximity on a daily basis.
On one of the occasions when he is accusing and reprimanding you, gently, but firmly, ask that you would like to talk to him in his office, if he has the time.
When you get the opportunity, make sure that you have the right attitude. By this I mean don't go in there with any chip on your shoulder. Your attitude should be one where you are looking to learn why he has a problem with your work, with a view to correcting it.
Thank him for agreeing to see you. Let him know that your previous manager used to accept your work, and if he had a question he would ask privately. You noticed that he is not like that. You would like to understand how he wants your work, as the start.
Then stop talking and listen.
You have said that you don't know what to do next, and that is where you find out. Throughout the talk, your posture should be one of trying to find out.
You may find that you may need to modify a few ways to fit into his way of doing things. You may find that he has some ways which are superior to your old manager's. If this is so, welcome it. It is an opportunity to learn something new.
Regarding the matter of reprimanding you in front of other people, he might not be aware of doing something wrong. If this embarrasses you, raise it to him respectfully. Tell him how it makes you feel and express the view that you'd prefer it be done privately.
Your feeling of bewilderment comes from not knowing what to do next. After having gained a solid reputation with your old manager, learning a new system can feel like starting over. Refuse to see it as bad, but as a learning opportunity; do not remain at one stage, but learn to expand your horizons.
You can learn to do new things. You can learn to do old things in a new way. By remaining open to learn, you may surprise yourself. Your bewilderment and cluelessness may turn to excitement.
n Glenford Smith is a motivational speaker and success strategist. He is the author of 'From Problems to Power' and co-author of 'Profile of Excellence'. firstname.lastname@example.org