Perhaps the only thing worse than a boss who constantly criticizes is one who does so in vague terms and refuses to offer constructive criticism. “MaryAnne” told us the story of her first boss, “Steve,” who essentially treated her as his personal assistant even though she was supposed to support multiple departments. Steve would “write these tirade-long emails describing everything I’d done wrong that particular day — but if I attempted to talk about it with him, he’d brush the email off as if it were ‘no big deal,’ once laughing and saying, ‘Guess I had too much time on my hands on the train!’ I never did get the chance to hear from him how I could improve and do better.”
Then there are managers whose interaction styles are simply baffling. Rich Franklin, Director of Recruitment at KBC Staffing, relays a story from one client who told him that “my vice-president told me that I was being rude during our meeting. I asked what I had done wrong and she glowered at me and said ‘You know what you’re doing.’ I repeated the question and clarified that I didn’t actually know and she almost spat out ‘I don’t have time for this behavior’ as she got up and left the room.” No matter how upset you are, you need to recognize when you’re not connecting.
“Being a boss means you need to nurture your employees and help them improve,” MaryAnne says. “I’ve since found superiors that do this, but he was not one.”