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Criticized unfairly? Quiet excellence trumps it

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in Your Office Coach

Question: “When our manager resigned, all five people in the department applied for her job. I was the one selected. After giving me the good news, my new boss said, ‘I understand that you don’t like to be told what to do. You’ll have to work on that.’ This really bothered me because it is simply not true.

“I believe my former manager may have discredited me while recommending someone else for the position. Although I defended myself to my boss, I’m afraid he’s going to view me negatively in the future. Should I discuss this with him again or just let time prove him wrong?” Misrepresented

Answer: No one likes personal criticism, so your feelings about this unexpected feedback are completely understandable. However, you don’t want to overreact by continuing to bring up the subject. If you keep debating the point, you will only reinforce the perception that you might be hard to manage.

If you think about it, you may realize that your boss has actually done you a favor. By sharing this information, he’s giving you a chance to correct his initial impression. If you make every effort to be a reasonable, cooperative employee, his opinion will undoubtedly change.

Finally, please remember that your boss must regard you highly, since he chose you over four other applicants for this position. If your self-esteem needs a boost, consider asking him why you were selected.

Certain situations can greatly affect your career. To handle them well, check out Ten Critical Career Moments.

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