Get advice on how to deal with jerks at work Check out the book 'Jerks At Work' and other titles by Ken Lloyd Ph.D. Return to the JerksAtWork.com homepage Learn more about Ken Lloyd, Ph.D. Submit a question to Ken Lloyd, Ph.D.
 

Criticism

Here are the questions filed under this category. To read Ken's advice on any item, click on the link "Read Ken's Answer."


We are employed at a mid-size retail chain. We have a manager on site, and we are subjected to biweekly reviews by an area manager. We are a high-performing team and we always meet our goals. When the area manager visits, he sails in, rarely says hello, reviews invoices and such, and focuses on finding something wrong. The atmosphere is depressed and defensive when he's around. What do you call this form of management and how can we react in a more positive tone to his visits?
Read Ken's Answer

I work in a restaurant in a management position, and I typically work 10 hours or more a day, 6 days a week. In addition to my management responsibilities, I cover other positions, and I am helping the new sales manager. My biggest problem is that my boss is always on my case when something goes wrong, and he never seems to see that I do so much for the company. Should I quit?
Read Ken's Answer

Our supervisor is a nasty and critical person, the manager over her is just as bad, and they both are especially mean to me. I am friendly with my fellow employees, and they have all noticed that I am picked on and blamed more than anyone else. I don't know what to do.
Read Ken's Answer

I was unable to attend a management meeting that was run by our regional vice president. I learned afterwards that one of the other managers criticized my work, my attitude, and the way my department is performing. His comments were inaccurate and hurtful. I cannot let this go, but I am not sure if I should go directly to the vice president or to this manager first.
Read Ken's Answer

I have been over a research unit for 3 years, and I have memos from previous managers supporting my good work. My unit was transferred to a new division, and the home office sent a manager to temporarily run it until one can be hired, and he and I have not seen eye to eye on anything. He takes no heed to the fact that I have always run the unit. He gave me a very low evaluation, and he writes me up for every little thing. I feel my job is in danger. What can I do?
Read Ken's Answer

I have been on this job for just over a month, and my relationship with my boss was very pleasant at first. Over the weeks, he has become much more critical, and this morning he snapped at me. I don't think my work has changed, and I don't know him well enough to figure out what is happening here. Do you have any ideas?
Read Ken's Answer

We have two co-workers who have a bad attitude. They are loud, sarcastic, and sound like they are always mad at you. They look for something wrong, and they usually target people who are new on the job. I have to deal with them every morning. I have talked to my supervisor and manager about them, and they speak to these individuals, but after a few days they are back to their threatening ways. What can you suggest?
Read Ken's Answer

Two years ago, I was making frequent mistakes on my job. I was put on probation and made a great deal of progress. I have been off probation for about a year, but on the rare occasion when I make a mistake, my supervisor writes me up and tells me that my performance is still unacceptable and I haven't learned anything. What can I do to stop being written up?
Read Ken's Answer

I delegated a project to one of my employees, and although I worked with him and guided him along the way, he needed an extension on the due date, and the final report missed the mark. Now my manager tells me this is as much my failure as his, and I do not agree. Do you?
Read Ken's Answer

Our manager has this annoying habit of complimenting us, and then throwing in a piece of criticism. Whenever she says something nice, it is always followed with the word, "but...." Is there a way to get a compliment from her that is just a compliment?
Read Ken's Answer

My manager gives me grief about the most trivial and time-consuming chores that I am supposed to complete. I admit that I am behind on them, but I do well on every important part of my job, and my manager says nothing. He only focuses on the incomplete minor tasks. What do you suggest?
Read Ken's Answer

My manager likes to show off his vocabulary, but he tends to use words that are slightly wrong. For example, he will talk about an abysmal failure, but he will say "abusmal" failure. He does this with many words, and all of us are reluctant to say anything since he is our boss. What can we say to him?
Read Ken's Answer

My manager is forever telling me what I should not have done. When I explain why I acted a certain way, he says he is tired of my excuses. This happens over and over. How do I get out of this cycle?
Read Ken's Answer

My manager criticizes just about everything I do. If I make a comment at a meeting, he either ignores it or insults me. If someone else makes a similar comment, he is all ears. I don't know why he is so upset with me, and he refuses to meet with me. What do you suggest?
Read Ken's Answer

I usually have lunch with the same two co-workers, and we get along well. We have a new boss, and now the two of them badmouth him for the whole lunch. This boss is awful, but I don't say anything because it's not my nature. I want to keep eating with these co-workers. What should I say in these discussions?
Read Ken's Answer

I just had a job interview, and the interviewer spent much of the time badmouthing the company, his boss, and the work atmosphere. I have never experienced this before, and I wonder what you make of it.
Read Ken's Answer

My working relationship with my manager is positive, but I have a problem with one of the other managers. He keeps criticizing me, and his comments are wrong and without any facts. He will not listen to me, and when I told my own manager about this, he said I should work it out on my own. How can I do this?
Read Ken's Answer

I have a co-worker who is critical of my work, but instead of coming to me, he goes directly to our boss. The two of them are buddies, and I get nothing but grief from my boss as a result of this co-worker's comments. How should I deal with this?
Read Ken's Answer

I go to lunch once or twice a week with several co-workers, and one always criticizes what I order and says I eat too much fat, sugar, salt, and greasy foods. He says he is giving me friendly advice, but I don't want it and I have mentioned this to him several times. That does not stop him. Any suggestions?
Read Ken's Answer

My manager makes cruel and degrading comments about me in front of other employees and even outsiders, and my work does not merit negative feedback at all. When I jump back to defend myself, he does not listen and just criticizes more. What do you suggest I do?
Read Ken's Answer

I am on a taskforce that is working on longer term goals and strategies for the company, and there is one individual who has a contrary opinion to everything the rest of us agree on. No matter what approach we take, he seems to pride himself in criticizing it and pushing for things to be done his way. How do you deal with someone like this?
Read Ken's Answer

On at least three occasions, I received emails from two senior managers who seriously questioned my approach on certain projects. I immediately emailed back documentation that showed I took the correct approach. I never heard back from them. I think I'm entitled to an apology. Should I say anything to them or let it go?
Read Ken's Answer

I don't know how to deal with a manager who is always criticizing my work. Every single day she is telling me that I did this or that wrong, and now whenever I see her, I brace myself for more criticism. What should I do?
Read Ken's Answer

We were having a staff meeting and I asked a basic question. After the meeting, my manager told me that he didn't want to embarrass me in front of the others, but my question was stupid. He feels he's a hero because he reprimanded me in private, but I'm annoyed over the criticism itself. What do you think?
Read Ken's Answer

The other day, my manager walked into my work area and said she wanted to give me some feedback. She then took out a piece of paper and read off a list of things that I have done wrong over the past three months. This was not my formal evaluation, and I am very upset by this treatment. What should I do?
Read Ken's Answer

My manager is always nitpicking my work and making critical comments about it. I work very hard, but it never seems to be good enough for her. She is nowhere near this tough on the other employees, and they have even said this to me. I don't want special treatment; I'm just tired of being singled out for criticism. What should I do?
Read Ken's Answer

How do you deal with an employee who phrases almost every comment in a critical and condescending tone? He reports to me, but he somehow thinks that he can lecture me in department meetings and directly attack my ideas and suggestions. I have tried to work with his comments, but he seems to be getting more and more impossible to handle. Why would he be acting this way and what do you suggest?
Read Ken's Answer

I am an administrative assistant for a boss whom I cannot please. No matter what I do, he criticizes me. I listen carefully to what he wants, and then I do it, and he still says I did it wrong. When I tell him I followed his instructions, he tells me I did not understand what he was saying, but I did. I am at my wit's end. Can you suggest anything?
Read Ken's Answer

I worked for 16 months in customer service at a company that had ďquality controlĒ techs monitoring incoming calls. They made no mention of all the times the customers praised our work, but they quantified the negative comments. The company fired many employees for ridiculous reasons, and then asked the rest of us to work overtime every day. How should I describe 16 months of torture to a potential employer without sounding overly negative?
Read Ken's Answer

I am fairly new here, and I work with another employee on most projects. Whenever he has a criticism of my work, he sends me an email and sends a copy to our boss. If I tell him to stop doing this, heíll report it to my boss. If I say nothing, heíll keep reporting on me. What do you suggest?
Read Ken's Answer

We provide our employees with treats at the end of the week, and we use this as a form of recognition and appreciation, as well as an opportunity for the employees to mingle with each other. I was shocked the other day when a few employees said they donít like the treats and would prefer something different, something better. I told them Iíd keep their comments in mind. However, I am quite annoyed that they would complain about a gift. What do you make of this?
Read Ken's Answer

I have an employee who is always eating or nibbling on something. He is not overweight, but if I meet with him in his office or if we have departmental meetings, he always has some food. Granted that it is not necessarily junk food, I have to wonder why he does this. My concern is that it is going to interfere with his work and even cause a problem with ants. What should I say to him?
Read Ken's Answer

I went for a job interview, and it was apparent that I was not in sync with the interviewer. By the end, he stopped asking questions and started criticizing me. Among other things, he that my answers were too wordy and my clothes were wrong. Iím still upset, and I wonder what you think about this.
Read Ken's Answer

I have two employees in my department who have not been performing well, and I gave both of them poor evaluations. They got together and complained to my manager. He believed everything they said, and he called me in and criticized me. What should I do now?
Read Ken's Answer

When we have department head meetings, one particular department head always takes shots at me. He does not make direct comments about my work, but he implies that I have failed. He is friendly enough between meetings, but that ends when the meetings start. How should I deal with him?
Read Ken's Answer

My manager is always trying to find fault with my work. She looks over everything I do, and if there is even a tiny error, she will jump all over it. She has sent me emails about insignificant mistakes, and she has verbally reprimanded me as well. She doesnít do this with others in the department. How can I get her to stop doing this to me?
Read Ken's Answer

When our manager gives us assignments, she tells us how disappointed she will be if we donít do well. If something goes wrong, she harps on how we failed her and how she expected so much more of us. We donít know what this management style is, but we are not comfortable with it. What can we do?
Read Ken's Answer

My daughter is having a problem with a co-worker. My daughter is overweight and was eating a lunch her boyfriend made for her. The co-worker commented that the cookie my daughter had was "certainly not low fat," and she made a similar comment today. How should my daughter approach this?
Read Ken's Answer

I was at a management meeting when one of the other managers said that several major problems have been caused by my employees. When I tried to defend myself and them, he interrupted me several times, and our manager (who was running this meeting) cut me off several times, too. After a few minutes, our manager stopped the argument and said itís time to move on. The meeting continued, but Iím still burning and wonder what to do.
Read Ken's Answer

Today, my manager ripped me to shreds in front of an employee that I supervise and had to reprimand for taking long breaks, an issue which my manager recently addressed with the whole dept. After I spoke to the employee (as gently as possible), he ran to my supervisor describing my "abrasive and accusing" remarks. My manager believes every word out of my employees mouth and then acts on these descriptions. This employee has, for several months, been "getting in the ear" of my supervisor telling him things that are going on within the department that are exaggerations and misrepresentations of the truth. He has effectively manipulated my supervisor against me. Somehow, I'm now the mean, rotten supervisor while my employee is viewed as the innocent victim. I am being sent to management training now because, as he stated in front of my employee "my management technique stinks". I would welcome the training more if it didn't seem like a punishment based on the "stories" of my employee. This employee seems to have my supervisor wrapped around his little finger and I've noticed strong favoritism. The beating and humiliation I took today is too much. My manager is far better equipped for confrontation than me. I am a mild-mannered and easy going manager and I have good, friendly work relationships with 99.9% of people in the building and, for 16 years, I've delivered and got things done well. My manager, who I recently found myself under due to a shuffle of departments, has a lot of management training and effectively backed me into an embarrassing and humiliating corner(all in front of my employee). I plan on trying to call a meeting with upper management to address what happened first thing tomorrow morning. This will undoubtedly enrage my manager and I expect things could get worse. My main complaint is that my manager ripped me to shreds in front of the employee I was trying to reprimand. All I said to my employee was "You took a half hour break today. Please keep it down to 15 minutes as company policy states." That's when he ran to my manager and all heck broke loose. I'll take any advice or words of wisdom you can offer. Thank you very much for your time!
Read Ken's Answer

Hello. I apologize in advance for the long story. I work in an animal supply store and get many questions from customers about how to care of a specific animal, and this can take close to 30 minutes in certain cases, often jumping from customer to customer to make sure everyone is taken care of. My position includes but is not limited to working the cash desk,pricing merchandise, stocking shelves, sometimes answering the phone, and all cleaning. There are a total of three women sales associates, one full time, one part-time, and one summer student. Sometimes the floor manager can help. This place gets very busy because we happen to be the only good store that is actually knowledgeable about what we are doing for a great distance. I have received complaints from the floor manager, indirectly from my boss/the business owner, about how I am taking too long helping customers with their inquires and threatened with a writeup. I am literally being written up because I was doing my job while being away from the cash desk. WTF!? I'm sorry for language, but this is the first thing that comes to mind. Please help me figure out what to do. I don't know how to deal with bosses who conflict themselves.
Read Ken's Answer