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My boss has been criticizing me behind my back!

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in Your Office Coach

Q: “After working for five years as an executive assistant to my boss, I recently heard that he has been saying negative things about me to the managers who report to him. This puts me in a very awkward position, so I would like some advice about how to handle the situation.” Hurt & Offended

A: Before jumping to conclusions based on secondhand gossip, be sure to consider the source. The person sharing this damaging information could have an ulterior motive. But if you believe the report is accurate, then you need to talk to your manager. Approach him in a calm, reasonable manner, without getting upset or angry.

For example: “I’d like to talk with you about something that has been bothering me. I’ve been told you aren’t happy with the quality of my work. If I’m not meeting your expectations, I need to know how I can improve, because I really want to do a good job.”

Although you might prefer to avoid this uncomfortable conversation, it’s the only way to resolve the issue. If your boss responds in an equally mature manner, your relationship should soon be back on track.

Being open to feedback is one of the keys to career success. Here's how to ask for it: How (and why) to Ask for Criticism.

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