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Question: “I wonder if my boss is indirectly encouraging me to leave. He gave me only an average performance rating this year, despite the fact that I met all of my goals and take great pride in my work. In my opinion, I clearly exceeded expectations. Many completely undeserving people received higher ratings, because they are in my boss’s “circle of friends”. My career will go nowhere unless I become part of this group, which I have no desire to do. Although I enjoy my job, I have no faith in my manager. I would hate to lose my benefits, but maybe it’s time to move on.” John
Answer: If you like your work and value your benefits, don’t jump ship too quickly. First, make an attempt to rehabilitate your relationship with your boss. Apparently, the two of you have different definitions of outstanding performance, but since he’s in the power position, you need to find out what he expects.
The best approach is to ask one simple question: “What would I need to do to improve my performance rating next year?” Don’t be surprised if the answer covers more than your work objectives. When evaluating people, managers consider not only quality of results, but also quality of relationships.
Your boss’s favored “friends” may simply be those employees who are most supportive, cooperative and helpful. Although you’ve resisted joining this group, membership could be the key to resurrecting your career.