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Cope with an untrusting boss

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Do you ever feel like your boss distrusts you? If your boss questions your every move or watches over you like a hawk, it feels terrible—especially if you have done nothing to warrant that mistrust.

Still, try not to take it so personally. Bad past experiences, his or her own suspicious boss, or insecurity could be causing your boss’s lack of trust. Instead, effectively manage the situation with these steps.

1. Evaluate your behavior. Are you giving your supervisor a legitimate reason to not trust you? Is your work performance up to par? Are you acting ethically? If not, make the necessary changes.

2. Show some empathy. What could be driving the boss’s behavior? Is he or she under tremendous pressure? Is performance down? Understanding the reasons behind the behavior may make it easier for you to stomach.

3. Watch your attitude. If you tense up or show annoyance every time your boss comes around, you will look like you are hiding something. Relax, keep your cool and always be respectful.

4. Be more transparent. Send regular updates to your boss via email, and keep him or her in the loop about problems you are resolving. In addition, anticipate questions and provide your boss with the answers before he or she asks them.

5. Talk to your boss. If nothing else works, schedule a meeting with your boss. Simply say “I feel like you don’t trust me because ...” and state the reasons why. Then ask what you can do differently to increase his or her trust in your work.

— Adapted from “When the Boss Questions Your Every Move,” Lynn Taylor, Psychology Today, www.psychologytoday.com

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