Career Advice Career Guidance and Counselling

Read the situation before having a showdown with your boss

Anyone can find a reason to complain about their boss, but in most cases they have nothing more to worry about than the niggles, minor arguments and differences of opinion that are a normal part of any working relationship.

Sometimes though, things go well beyond that. Every day becomes difficult, every encounter is tense and any sense of teamwork and mutual respect goes out of the window. To prevent that happening, subordinates should be realistic and learn to read the situation.

The boss may be far from perfect, but he or she is the person in charge. Therefore, it makes sense to review one's own performance honestly and be ready to adapt. Naturally, most employees are good at seeing their own side of the story, but it often takes just a few questions or a short discussion to clarify why things must be done a certain way.

That said, if problems persist, there is no point accepting them or assuming they will sort themselves out. Instead, it is better to identify the root cause of your concerns and then explain it clearly and calmly to your boss. This is a sign of professionalism and helps avoid emotive statements or vague generalisations that risk leading nowhere.

Complaining loudly and openly about your boss will win you few friends or admirers.

Lancy Chui, managing director of Manpower Hong Kong, Macau and Vietnam