Having a nitpicky boss can be a nightmare. It’s difficult to cope when they are too involved with minor details or criticizing everything. There are bosses that want you to do things exactly the same way as them, even if your way has the same outcome. Here are some tips to handle this before you blow up on them or rage quit.
Get clear on what they expect from you
It’s okay to ask for guidelines and ask questions to make sure you know exactly what they want. Tell them if what they are asking for is unclear. Doing this shows you care and want to do well, and it teaches the boss how to be a better manager.
Use your crystal ball
Not literally, unless that works for you (and then you can teach me). Try to anticipate what you think the boss will focus on when they review your work. If you know they care how something looks when it prints, make sure you have the printing settings all set up for them already. Or if you know they always ask how you arrived at your conclusion, document this along the way and include it if you can.
A messy desk can make a boss nervous.
Sure, you may know where everything is, but messiness can cause concern for a boss that is neat and tidy. They may question your ability to handle your responsibilities if you are messy. Plus it helps you find what you need.
I remember as a kid stuffing all of my mess into my closet, under the bed, and in dresser drawers. My mom thought my room looked clean and I could be secretly messy, which made us both happy. If you thrive in messiness – keep the mess confined to a drawer or two that your boss can’t see.
Keep them in the know
Keep your boss updated on your progress. You don’t need to check in after each and every task per say, but you can send a quick status update email at the end of the day. Ask them in the email for feedback and if they have any concerns or suggestions or changes in priorities. This can help you catch any issues before they become bigger problems.
Their nitpicking isn’t personal
It can be really annoying to spend time on something, think you did a great job, and then the boss critiques you over the tiniest things that seem menial. Try to stay positive and use this as a chance to improve your skills and attention to detail. Don’t take their criticism personally, and stay focused on the end goal. They are allowed to teach you to be better at what you do. Take the advice and use it to your advantage.
The key is to stay calm, remain professional, and address any issues that you have as soon as possible. If you feel like you’ve given it your best and followed the advice above but it’s too much for you, you may need to speak with HR or upper management as a last resort. Remember that communication is key in any workplace relationship, so make sure to listen up but also speak up when necessary.
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