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Criticism Favoritism Fairness Micromanagement

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?

When you are under the managerial microscope, it is typically either a good sign or something close to an exit sign. On the one hand, your manager may have high expectations of you and is willing to devote extra effort toward critiquing and improving your performance. On the other hand, your manager may be rather exasperated with your performance and may be setting the stage for a change to be made.

The first step is for you to honestly appraise your own performance. Look carefully at the accuracy of the feedback your manager has given you. If she is way off the mark, the best approach is for you to present her with clear, accurate, and irrefutable facts on a calm and businesslike basis.

At the same time, if there is even a hint of accuracy in her critical comments, the only way to lessen such criticism is through a change in your performance. The best approach is for you to have a high degree of contact and communication with her while you are working on your projects. Get a clear understanding of what you are supposed to do at the outset, and then meet with her several times along the way in order to be certain that all of the nits have been picked.

It will also be helpful for you to do some public relations regarding your performance. If there are situations in which you can implement some of her inputs, do so and let her know about it.

To the extent that your manager senses that you are listening to her, respecting her judgment, utilizing some of her suggestions, and arguably upgrading your performance, she will be less likely to be so critical of what you are doing. However, if she still keeps giving you two thumbs down, then it's time for you to consider meeting with her manager to provide your own review of her performance.

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