Why Didn’t My Boss Understand Me?

I was just checking my blog stats and found these words “why didn’t my boss understand me”. My first reaction was a big “Awwwwwww! I feel so bad for this person.” But it also got me thinking.

It’s so easy to blame a boss. And there are a lot of bad ones out there as I can attest to first-hand!

But honestly, the burden is as much on us as on our bosses to make sure they understand us. NO…let me change that. The burden – or let’s call it work smarts challenge – is even more on us because it’s to our advantage to make sure we help them know who we are and what we can do for them.

I’ve worked with so many people who whine about not being understood and not being given a chance to show what they really can do. But then why can I tell you that there was never a time when I wasn’t at least given a chance? NEVER. Did it always go well? No. Did I always like the job or my boss? No. Did I always shine? Absolutely not. And it’s not that I’m so brilliant or so perfect. Lord knows I’m far from that!

But I make it my responsibility to create and add to my own work experience within whatever normal duties I have to cover. And that’s what I want to tell the person who wrote.

You are the one that will benefit most from making sure your boss does understand you. So what have you done to make sure that happens?

  • Have you established a relationship with your boss finding out what they expect of you and letting them know what you need and want?
  • Have you gone above and beyond your regular duties to add value to the department and company?
  • Have you volunteered for new responsibilities or projects?
  • Do you ask your boss how s/he is doing and offer to help if they are swamped?
  • Do you stop by to say hello and share a quick story. (Bosses are often busy, but they are also people and can enjoy an interesting story, especially about something good that happened. )
  • Do you only go to your boss when things go wrong? If so, you get associated with being a negative person. Bosses need to know when things go right also.
  • If something does go wrong, do you come to your boss with solutions?
  • Do you take time to understand your boss and what they are going through?

One other thought…how much does a boss really need to understand you? When I hear a phrase like that, it harkens back to childhood stuff like “my parents didn’t understand me.” And so often, a circumstance today triggers an early memory or need.

But a boss only has to know you well enough to get you to do your work and hopefully provide an environment where you can thrive and grow. And since they aren’t your mother or father and since you are an adult, you are capable of helping improve your own work experience. It’s not up to our bosses to understand us and make everything better with a band-aid and a cookie. (Although that would be nice.) It’s up to us to learn to work smart and add as much as we can to our own jobs and careers.

So to the person wondering why your boss didn’t understand you…I wish you all the luck in your next job. But this time, don’t worry about whether they understand you or not – just dive in and make that job and work experience the best you know how!


About the author…

Ronnie Ann, founder of Work Coach Cafe, bases her real-world advice on her many years as an organizational consultant where she helped interview and hire people, added to a certificate from NYU in Career Planning & Development and her own adventures as a serial job seeker. She can also be found on her new blog, and on Google+.

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