When Your Boss Makes Everything Your Fault

Have you ever had a boss that drives you absolutely crazy? Of course you have, we all have. There are some things you can do to make things just a little easier on yourself.

If your boss is the type who will pull you off a project to work on something else, then pull you into his office to ream you for not doing the first project, there is a simple thing that you can do to alleviate the situation. The best thing you can do is have everything in writing.

Now, how do you get your boss to write it down? You could try saying something like, “Can you write me up a memo about that. I want to be sure I get it done exactly the way you want it.”This way, you have written proof that your boss told you to work on this other project. When he pulls you into the office to ream you, take the memo with you.

When you show him in his own words what he told you to do, it will take away some of his steam. If you can’t get him to write a memo with the specifics, try this: Send him a memo with a request that he return it to you with his reply. Be specific on your memo. Make sure you include a sentence like, “Just so that I am clear, you want me to stop working on project A and focus on project B and return to project A when I am finished. Is this correct?”

Some bosses like to make decisions without checking with their superiors first. As an employee, you have no way of knowing whether your boss has approval or not, you are just following orders. Bosses who do this are taking a risk, if the decision is a good one and her boss is pleased, she will be applauded for her pro-active decision making. If her boss is not pleased, she will be in trouble. When the later happens, a lot of times the boss will try to blame the employee. She will say the employee did it on his own without approval.

To protect yourself from this type of boss, keep a log or a journal. Record the main ideas of each conversation right after they happen, including date and time. This way, you will have ongoing evidence that you were just following orders.

If your boss is difficult to get along with or does some of the things discussed above, there is one more thing you can do, but you must be very careful about how you do it. If you find yourself with the opportunity to speak to your boss’ superior, you can address the issue. Be sure to address the issue tactfully, without placing blame. Instead of approaching him saying, ” He is so difficult to work with, he does X, Y, and Z. It’s just impossible, “Try “I think we would be much more productive if we tried doing things (insert your solution, such as putting all requests in writing to avoid confusion) The first way makes you look like a malcontent who is trying to get his boss in trouble. The second way, you come off as a good employee who sees a problem and comes up with a solution. If this is not done correctly, it can come back to haunt you. If it appears in any way that your are talking behind your boss’ back or trying to simply make her look bad, it could look bad for you. Try to avoid negativity in your discussion. If it gets back to your boss that you had negative things to say about her, things could get worse for you. Keep all of your statements positive.

For those times when your boss is angry with you and you are sure you have done everything you were asked to do, you can talk to him directly about it. Remember not to be argumentative or accusatory. Say something like, “Maybe I misunderstood what it was you wanted me to do. In the future I will ask for clarification before I proceed.”You could also use this opportunity for all future instructions to be put into writing to avoid any misunderstandings in the future.

There are some things you can do to avoid potential problems from the very beginning, before they arise. Keep things friendly but professional with your new boss.

Avoid sharing any irrelevant personal details. If you child is sick and you need to leave early, only say that. Don’t elaborate with unnecessary information. Don’t share with your boss every detail of your weekend, if he asks, simply say that it was a good weekend. If you talk about the party you went to on Saturday night, the boss might get the idea that you drink too much, even if this is not the case. You never know how personal details may be perceived, especially if taken out of context. It’s better to not bring them up at all. I disclose personal information to my boss on a need to know basis. If I am requesting a personal leave for a family crises, I tell them the nature of the crisis and the length of time

I expect to be gone. I provide additional information only if requested.
This is not without its drawbacks. Often times, if there is a project that a lot of people want to work on, the boss will pick those with whom she is most friendly. I sometimes get left out of these. However, I have also seen things go very bad for an employee who has blurred the line between work and personal. When something goes wrong and the boss has a great deal of personal information, that person will often find things she thought she was sharing with a friend used against her. The job market is brutal. The corporate structure today is one of change. You will probably have several bosses over the span of your career. Some will be great bosses and you will be sad to see them go, others will be not so good and make you long for the good boss back. With the way people you work with come and go, it’s better to be friendly but not friends with the people you work with. There will be exceptions, to be sure, but for the most part, I would suggest being polite, courteous, work hard, and keep the personal business personal.

Sometimes, when there is trouble with a boss, it’s not really anyone’s fault. Sometimes personalities just don’t mesh. If you boss isn’t doing anything wrong, and you are sure you aren’t either, but things still aren’t working out, try communicating through e-mail, memos, or even another co-worker who seems to get along better with the boss. If someone you are working with seems to be able to communicate with the boss better than you, you can have them do the talking. Say something like, “I’ll keep working on this, why don’t you give the boss an update.”

If the difficulties are too bad that none of these things have helped, maybe its time to look for a new employer or a transfer to a different department working under a different boss. You don’t have to give your reason as “I just can’t work with him. “You could simply say, “I feel like its time for a change.”Nearly everyone can respect that.

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