My boss and I clash over our working styles, and I’m stressed out

globe and mailSpecial to The Globe and Mail – September

The Question:

I am a veteran employee with more than 30 years of service – more than 10 in my current role. I’m having huge problems with my manager. I support a large team of salespeople, and my workload has grown significantly.

My manager constantly criticizes me and I feel bullied and disrespected by her. When I have told her my feelings before, things improve and then get worse. I realize we work differently – she’s more big picture while I’m more analytical. She says I leave things too late but she’ll brush off important meetings and leave me in the lurch on big projects. That’s led me to have a major meltdown with her and is affecting my work-life balance. My doctor suggested I take a leave.

The Answer:

Colleen Clarke, Career specialist

Your physical and mental health is the most important consideration. First, you must lessen your account load. Put together a list of manageable accounts you prefer to work with and present it to your boss. Ask for her input in fine-tuning the list.

It sounds to me like you may be mothering your reps; maybe you are a people pleaser and that gives you pleasure, but it isn’t good business practice. Consider each request you get and strategize how it can be completed most efficiently by the rep – not you.

The fact that you are an analytical and detailed person and your boss is more of a visionary is a great complement to getting a job done. As long as you both understand how to work together and have respect for each others’ strengths and weaknesses, you make a powerful duo. When one is resisting the others’ work style is when the conflict arises.

Can you sit down with your boss and have an honest conversation with her? Tell her you are committed to making changes, but would also appreciate being listened to and respected for what you bring to the table.