A frustrating work environment can be when your supervisor simply doles out work and directives to you or your team of experts without any conversation or feedback from those around them. You come to the table with a knowledge base and it’s hard when you’re not asked to share or make recommendations, right? Here are some ideas about how to take these negative moments and find opportunities to turn them into something positive.
Identify Your Automatic Thoughts:
Be aware of your initial negative thoughts when this occurs. Be honest about them, even if they feel silly or mean-spirited. E.g., I can’t believe that he doesn’t respect me enough to ask for my input. He’s a jerk.
Identify Rational Alternative Thoughts:
Recognize which parts of these reactions may be stories you’ve made up, not knowing, for sure that they are true. The idea is to release whatever “hold” your assumptions have on you. E.g., Maybe she does respect me, but she feels that asking my opinion would be futile since her up-line manager has already determined what can and can’t be done. She may think it would be two-faced of her to let me think I can have an impact when that’s not possible. Or maybe she’s just feeling overwhelmed and she hasn’t realized that by engaging me I could help reduce the stress.
Identify Alternative Responses:
Plan how you can get to the truth behind the behavior you’ve witnessed. Anticipate reactions (theirs and yours) and how you could effectively handle them. E.g., If this is a pattern, plan to have a conversation with her about what you’ve observed and the perceived impact, while holding back from sharing what you’ve interpreted as her intent.
An example of a start to this conversation could be: “Mike, I’ve noticed that the team is a little disengaged during our weekly team meetings. I wonder if offering some interactive time for the team to discuss strategy for the week would make the meetings more effective.”
Maybe you’ll be surprised at what you find out and can use what you learn to suggest a more productive way of interacting moving forward.