I have some serious issues/conflicts about my relationship with my Manager.

  • Communication Style: My boss gives me marching order but never takes any feedback from me. It can be very frustrating knowing that sometimes certain orders she gives are detrimental to the team. She never listens to me. It's a frustrating feeling.
  • She always praises my team member when interacting with me. I don't believe she has said anything positive about me to the my team members and/or her manager's team.
  • She always gives me negative feedback. She rarely has anything positive to say about me.
  • She does not recognize my accomplishments. Instead she scrambles to pick things I could have done better (as remote as they may be) instead. It's very difficult to handle only my "bad parts" without ever being appreciated for the "good parts".
  • We are both non-native English speakers. So we have plenty to complain about each other's communication skills (About the way we write our emails, messages, engagements with our customers etc.). She makes it a priority to intervene and belittle me by correcting my every email I send out and constantly goes after every message and lectures me on improvements. But the problem is that I have plenty of feedback to provide myself about my Boss. But it's always a uni-directional conversation with my Boss. She takes zero input while she has a lot of criticism for me.
  • When engaging with our customers in a meeting, she interjects me and sometimes gives out incorrect or incomplete information. Everybody makes mistakes but she just never gives me an opportunity to correct my Boss.
  • No matter what I accomplish, she belittles me by saying that she could have accomplished the same task in lesser time.
  • Earlier this week I worked on a problem and had to stay up late in to the night to make progress. The additional time I spent did help us fix the issue eventually. When I opened up to my Boss the next day about the work I had to do, my Boss's response was that I should not have wasted a lot of time working on the issue. She said she could achieve the same progress within an hour instead. But it's a blatant lie. This is an example of my Boss not being empathetic in understanding the efforts I put in.
  • I have a medical condition and when I have scheduling conflicts with my doctor and work, she expects me to postpone the doctor appointments. But how can I when I'm suffering? I can always take the doctor's appointment, come back to work and make up for the lost time. But I can't wait for another week or two to meet the doctor.
  • Micro Management: She explicitly asks me to duplicate/summarize a lot of work, produce a lot of write ups when they don't add any value to the business. It takes precious time away from problem solving.
  • Various Team Managers send out their team's accomplishments via email to the Department. She has never ever listed any of my accomplishments. She goes on rambling about her personal life. I feel like the rest of the teams are completely unaware of what I'm up to. Though this isn't a big deal, it's unfair and doesn't help me find meaning in my work. She did recognize my co worker a couple of times. I happy about that.

    I now have an opportunity to provide written feedback about my Manager as a part of our annual performance reviews.

    I'm struggling to find meaningful ways to communicate my challenges and provide constructive criticism to her. I have gone over this article and find it very helpful. But how can I phrase these challenges so that it ends up helping me improve our relationship? I'm very concerned that anything I say may backfire and further worsen our relationship. Also, I enjoy the work place and other team members, it is just the manager I'm unhappy with. I would like to improve the situation so that I can continue working here.

That review is your only chance to give your boss feedback since she does not seem to be interested in it.
Do not care about improving your relationship with her. That is not the purpose of the annual review and bare in mind that your manager's manager will be taking that feedback into account for her performance. Be specific on what she does that 1)block you from doing your best work 2) demotivate you 3) her impact or better yet the lack of it in your professional growth. Do not write any judgement and do not talk directly about her. Only about the effect action X done on date Y has had on you.
Be specific and honest. How she will take the feedback is her problem. If she does not improve then you already have provided all the feedback she needed to know and take it to her boss or leave.

  • +1 Manager doesn't care OP's feelings so OP shouldn't worry about manager's feelings. You could take a lesson from your manager. You could learn a lesson from her feedback and mention what she does well in addition to stating your concerns. – AffableAmbler Oct 15 '17 at 22:24
  • 1
    @JoeStrazzere: then you go to their boss. It usually works unless we are talking about a toxic place – smith Oct 16 '17 at 6:59
  • Besides, if their boss sides with them, that's a clear sign that it's time to dust off the ol' CV anyways. – Cronax Oct 16 '17 at 8:48

Evaluate carefully the company culture before providing too candid of a feedback. In an ideal world , and company, smith's suggestion of being completely honest and hoping that your manager comes to their sense or that higher management will intervene can backfire. badly.

The main red flag and where I would worry If I were you is that in a sane and productive work environment you would be able to provide some of that feedback to your manager during the year and it would likely be taken into account.

"Hey boss, I would really be more productive if you [...] " Type of interactions.

Now you are heading in a year end review with a laundry list of complaints that shouts : 'I hate my boss'.

In my experience when your boss and boss's boss see this they will know for sure that the relation is mostly broken and the upper management will either side with you (quite unlikely) or with your boss (most likely).

If you end up in a worst case scenario you will have your boss becoming even more difficult and with no support from the upper management. This sets you up for a speedy exit (ie as soon as they have a chance, or as soon as the manager will really decide that he had enough)

I would suggest the following : try to focus on one (or two) points that you think can be big wins for you. Provide some actionable suggestions (instead of just a complaint) and include it in some other positive point in your year end review.

Some managers might even appreciate a heads-up on the couple of criticisms/suggestions you are making in their review.

Also if you intend to stay that will make further communications easier, and you might try to suggest improvements during the year by directly interacting with your manager during the year. Which should be the healthy way of dealing with those issues.

If it's still not improving, brush up your CV and look for another position, after all around half of the people leave their job because of their manager (see for example this gallup study)

Good luck !

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