The Boss from Hell: Quick to Criticize, Slow to Praise

So you have a boss who dumps all over you the moment things go wrong, but never seems to notice when things go right. Ouch.

Jamie is a hard-working, cheery, full-of-ideas kind of manager. She leads two high-functioning teams who support each other very well. So why does Jamie come to work with a stomachache every day? Why does her staff often feel paralyzed? It's because Jamie's boss, VP of Client Services, finds fault every day with Jamie and her team members. He seems to go out of his way to criticize. When the VP is away, the group functions like a well-oiled machine. When he is there, they gossip, avoid tough problems, and try to make themselves invisible.

As a defensive strategy, Jamie visits her boss every morning to take a reading of his mood and pre-empt any explosions. She tells him first thing what she and her team accomplished the day before, what issues they face, and how they are handling them. Sometimes the strategy works, sometimes it doesn't and the explosions come anyway. The constant stomachache is the price Jamie pays for trying to figure out how to please this overly critical boss.

Most of us can take a little criticism from our bosses from time to time when we've messed up, or haven't quite done something right. It can be tremendously demotivating, however, when criticism seems to be the only type of feedback we get, and we don't receive recognition for our positive contributions.

Chances are your boss isn't intentionally trying to demotivate you. It's doubtful that he has some master plan to make your life miserable. More likely, she has fallen into the all-too-common management trap of looking for things that are wrong instead of things that are right. Of course, this particular behaviour is not unique to managers. Many parents, coaches and peers (perhaps even you and me), fall into this trap.

If you have to deal with overly critical behaviour, there's a technique worth trying. The next few times your boss criticizes you, follow this three-step process:

1. Apologize

2. Let your boss know that you'll correct the problem

3. Finish off with a comment that gently reminds her that you do, occasionally, get things right. For example:

"Gee, and here I thought you were coming over to tell me what a good job I did on that last project." Say it with a smile, then go about the business of fixing your mistake.

It may take a few repetitions, but your boss should eventually get the message that you might like some positive encouragement.

Now, here's the part for the really courageous and truthful among you. You can actually tell your boss what you want. If you don't say anything, don't expect your boss to read your mind, or to be aware of how the constant criticism affects you. Say something like:

"I do appreciate feedback. It helps me improve. In addition to criticism, I also appreciate hearing about what I do well. It helps me know what to keep doing."

While you can't control how your boss talks to you, you can control the quality of your own communication, and how you respond. Good luck.

About the Author

Nicki Weiss is an internationally recognized Certified Professional Sales Management Coach, Master Trainer, and workshop leader. Since 1992, Nicki has trained, certified, and/or coached more than 6,000 business executives, sales managers and salespeople.

Nicki guarantees increased sales performance when sales managers become better sales coaches. Sign up for her FREE monthly e-zine, Something for NothingTM, which has powerful tips and techniques for sales managers who are ready to make this transformation. Sign up at http://www.saleswise.ca You can email her at [email protected] or call 416-778-4145.

In The News:

Seven Reasons Why A Sales Manager Can Fail  Radio & Television Business Report
GPC Sales Up 3.5% in 2019 | 2020-02-19  Modern Distribution Management
New Nike CEO announces management shuffle  Portland Business Journal
BMAT - UK Sales Manager (UK)  Music Business Worldwide
You Have a New Lead — What's Next?  Business 2 Community
H&R Agri Power's Approach to Training  Farm Equipment Publication
Groomed to lead  New Straits Times
Sales and Marketing Management  Business 2 Community

Effective Sales Territory Management

How you prioritize your sales territory management activities depends upon... Read More

Sales Coaching... Fact or Fiction?

The old adage in selling has always been, "Find out... Read More

Finding A Sales Force That Pays For Itself

The elements involved in building a sales force, especially one... Read More

How to Beat the 80/20 Rule in Sales Performance -- Part 1

Business executives and sales managers frequently bemoan "80/20" performance on... Read More

Discounting Your Way Into Sales Oblivion

I don't even like saying the word d---------g. I have... Read More

The Product or the Sale

This is a quandary not unlike the chicken or the... Read More

Energize Your Organization

No matter what you do, it seems, your employees do... Read More

SEZ WHO? Tips About Recommendations, Sales Cycles, and Trade Shows

Here's the scene. You're at the trade show, having a... Read More

Increase Your Sales Accept Credit Cards, Part 2

In part two we will discuss overcoming objections, which credit... Read More

How We Build a 90% Failure Rate into the Sales Process

I recently began doing training in the banking industry. Across... Read More

Whats a Professional Sales Manager?

I was in the depths of a major depression. As... Read More

Snowflakes Improve Holiday Sales

Snowflakes are beautiful!For the Winter Holiday sales season handcrafted snowflakes... Read More

Sales Plan? Whats a Sales Plan?

In the past, if you said the word "plan" to... Read More

How to Keep Projects From Spinning Out Of Control

Are you involved in projects that seem to go nowhere... Read More

Sales & Marketing Plan Strategies

Design and Implementation of a new Sales & Marketing campaign... Read More

Is Your Sales Trust Factor High Enough to Win Against the Competition?

How high is your sales trust factor?Is it higher than... Read More

Promoting Your Private Label at Industry Trade Shows

So everyone thought you were crazy when you announced 6... Read More

Sex, Drugs, & Rock-n-Roll at Trade Shows

Here's the Scenario...You're at a trade show. Out of town.... Read More

Snuff Out the Competition Without Leaving a Mark!

Does the competition drive you crazy? Are they relentless about... Read More

Commodity Sales Prospecting - How to Stand Out From Your Competitors

I have received a number of requests for advice from... Read More

Profitable Relationships: Is It Amateur Hour or King of the Hill?

"We're in the relationship business?...airplanes are what we use to... Read More

Seven Deadly Sales Mistakes That Cost Business Owners Big Money - And What To Do About Them

1. LOOKING for a "quick fix" to close more sales... Read More

Increasing Sales by Using Coupons - Will it Help Your Business?

Increasing Sales by using Coupons. Will it help your business?... Read More

How To Have A Successful Retail Sales Event

In the 30-plus years I spent working in advertising and... Read More

Increase Your Sales - Accept Credit Cards

Many people today simply prefer the convenience of paying by... Read More