There’s no changing what’s going on in my office, but I’d like to bend your ear and hear what you think about it. A supervisor in our organization is running for a state political office and our big boss, the owner, allowed him to campaign during work hours for most of the summer and has signed off on him doing the same all fall until the election in November. We, his fellow supervisors, and especially the employees, have a hard time accepting this. This guy continues to collect his salary and retains all his vacation and sick days while he campaigns Monday through Friday. The owner not only doesn’t have a problem with this; he actually encourages it. We’re not stupid. We realize it’s all about politics, but after a while, it gets harder and harder to swallow. Office morale is hanging by a thread.
Puking over politics
Dear Puking over politics:
This is something I cannot condone. I have no doubt this situation is a morale crusher. It sounds like the owner thinks the benefit(s) of this guy winning the election will outweigh any of the negative effects his campaigning on company time is having on the rest of you and the organization as a whole. The owner’s decision to allow this leaves me with more questions than anything: How does your colleague’s work get done while he is campaigning? Is someone pinch-hitting for him? If no one is filling in for him, is his position even needed? Whether he wins or loses, will he remain with the organization? Hopefully, there will be some kind of normalcy in your office after the election, regardless of the outcome. In the meantime, hang in there!
My boss has no problem criticizing one’s work but rarely gives positive feedback. In passing, he has said he’s the way he is because he had bosses that never gave him any positive feedback. To say that to us tells me he knows exactly what he’s doing and he knows it isn’t right. I can take and appreciate constructive criticism, but it gets old working for someone who always looks for the bad in everything you do. The other day, I had had enough. I turned in some work and he immediately criticized it; he was totally negative for no legitimate reason. So, instead of exploding, I just walked out of the room, left the building, and took a walk to clear my head. Neither of us has said a word about this incident since. I’m just dreading the next time it happens. Any suggestions?
Fed up with constant criticism
Dear Fed up with constant criticism:
I cannot deny that your boss’s rationale for his behavior infuriates me. Individuals in leadership positions should know better. Just because he was treated inappropriately by his bosses does not make it right, reasonable, or responsible for him to do the same thing to you and anyone else who reports to him.
I applaud you for removing yourself from the situation and taking some time to cool down. More likely than not, you will find yourself in a similar situation with him again. You can handle it in a couple of different ways. You can either work on filtering through his words and figuring out what he is trying to communicate, what his true intentions may be. Or, you can have a candid but respectful discussion with him, letting him know you want and respect constructive criticism, but constant negative feedback is demoralizing and counterproductive. Best of luck!
© 2011 Rozanne R. Worrell