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Question: “As a salesperson, I have tremendous talent and can run circles around almost anyone. But about two months ago, I started a job where my abilities don’t seem to be appreciated. My manager feels the need to comment constantly on whatever I’m doing. He accuses me of thinking I know everything. He also says he can’t talk to me because I’m defensive. This is totally uncalled for, because I really am open to feedback. If the manager is right, I have no problem admitting it. However, I think he wants me to always agree, even when I believe he’s wrong. I come into work feeling great and motivated to achieve, but he immediately destroys my mood. I’m OK with the job itself, but I can’t deal with this harassment.” - Super Sales Guy
Marie’s Answer: I don’t know who’s right or wrong here, but I do know who’s likely to win this argument. You are a brand new employee with no track record. Even if your manager is an idiot, at the moment he has more power than you.
The bottom line is that you simply don’t have much leverage yet. So instead of wasting energy arguing with your boss, concentrate on leverage-building activities, like making big sales and bagging new customers. Once you’ve demonstrated your value, you’ll be in a better position to offer opinions. Until then, however, you need to bite your tongue. Being viewed as a disrespectful know-it-all will not advance your career.
When you say you’re “OK with the job itself,” you’ve overlooked the fact that your manager is part of the job. Getting along with the boss is a basic requirement in any position, even if that boss is annoying. If you truly have stellar selling skills, there’s no need to tell your manager how good you are. Your results will soon send the message loud and clear.