What do you do if you learn that your boss holds a negative opinion about you?
Do you avoid them at every turn and risk bodily harm so as to not have any interaction? Do you run into their office and confront them with a list of all the reasons they’re wrong?
The answer is neither. When an employee learns he or she is viewed in a less than stellar light, it can cause impulsive reactions.
In truth, when handled positively, this is a great opportunity to build the relationship with the leader that holds this context about you. Below are three tips to approach the conversation and turn a negative into a positive.
Tip #1: Be Gracious.
If you discovered that your boss has a negative opinion about you from anyone other than your boss, and you want to shift his or her perspective, you have to be sensitive to the fact that there may not be awareness of the information being shared.
While it may seem like an office politics land mine, avoidance is not the answer. In fact, even though what your leader said might be hurtful, you taking a gracious stance and approaching the conversation in a sensitive manner shows great character. It also shows that you care about the person and are willing to embrace difficult situations.
Tip #2: Schedule Time and Come Prepared.
Approaching your leader to discuss how they view you is a delicate topic and deserves quality time. This is not the conversation you start in the hallway or after a meeting.
Schedule this conversation and be prepared. Have you really explored how you feel about the opinion of you? That it was possibly shared with others? Do you think the opinion is justified and you want to improve? Do you feel it’s unfair and you want to explore how you can show this?
The reality is that this person’s perception of you is his or her reality. There is some truth to it from where your leader sits, and it is important to understand it. A conversation this complex requires the undivided attention of both parties. There are no shortcuts with this dialogue.
Tip #3: Remember It’s a Conversation Not a “Versation”.
If your goal with this talk is to prove you are right and that he or she is wrong, don’t bother. Remember that the prefix of the word conversation, con, means with in Spanish.
A conversation is a chance to be with someone - not against them. It is a time to get curious. While the opinion in question may be your leader’s, you are with them now exploring it, and if you give them no time to speak freely, it loses the with part.
If you learned your leader held a negative opinion about you, what would you do?