Do you have a feeling that something is wrong at the office and it has something to do with your performance? There are some obvious telltale signs that you have offended your boss or co-workers. What should you look for?
- When your boss quits talking to you. This may be a sign that she is distracted and trying to hold it together while deciding what to do with you. If your once friendly, cheerful conversations have been replaced with polite greetings and forced smiles, it may be time to start thinking about ways to improve your performance or move on. It is NOT your boss’s job to babysit you or coddle you because you are “young.” Regardless of your age, your task is to acquire skills and make an effort to grow into a sharp, attentive, inspired employee. You were hired to be an ambassador of the company and if all you have turned out to be is dead wood and a drain on the company bank account, you may soon find your way back to Monster.com.
- When your professional opinion is no longer being solicited. Part of your responsibility as an employee is to offer thoughtful and informed feedback. That means you have to put forth effort. Stay updated on changes in the company, keep informed on the latest blog posts, make yourself aware of corporate and client expectations and always be thinking ahead on how to ensure you are a corporate asset. Telltale sign: if you notice that your boss is no longer asking your opinion on important business matters, it probably means that he or she has lost confidence in your input or has lost trust in your feedback.
- When even the simplest tasks are being delegated to others. When someone loses confidence in you, even the smallest tasks seem to be redirected to those your boss can rely on. If you find yourself standing to the side while others take over, don’t hesitate to ask your boss if there is something that you have done to change her attitude towards you. Be prepared for her answer and do what it takes to regain her trust.
- When the lunch invitations stop coming. While it would be a bad idea to cultivate a BFF friendship with your boss, it’s always nice to have her admiration and trust. When your boss asks you to go to lunch it usually means she has some more work to discuss or she wants to thank you for a job well done. It can be as easy as a quick burger but it is a compliment when your boss asks you to share a meal. If the routine meal invitations all of a sudden subside, you can assume she is either very busy, preoccupied with a project or not as interested in sharing a California roll with you.
- When the special snacks or lattes quit coming. Some boss’s like to bring in occasional treats for their office staff. When the staff is a party of one or two and the small box of cookies or occasional cup of mocha latte quits coming in, it may be a sign that your boss is extending the same effort (or lack of) you are showing to her. People generally treat others like they appreciate being treated and if your boss is feeling taken advantage of, or disrespected, she may consciously or unconsciously act in kind. Ask yourself honestly what your work efforts look like to an outside observer.
- Silent and cold, short and distant are not good signs. If your boss is acting distant and aloof, you not only have a right, but a responsibility to find out why. If the answer is that you are working for a petty boss, by all means get out now. If her behavior is attributed to something you have done, or failed to do, it’s best to address the issue head on. Admittedly, your boss should be the first one to broach the subject with you, and not act like a high school drama queen, but not all bosses (and employees) are properly trained or equipped to communicate effectively without a little nudge. In the perfect world, your boss should offer you an honest evaluation but in the meantime your proactive demeanor may clear the air and save your job. Rest assured, if your boss notices your lack of motivation, others have as well. Do your part to improve your performance and you may quickly see your boss smile again!