My boss has poor listening and empathy skills

Apple mrerth
Aug 17, 2018 24 Comments

Although polite, my boss is emotionally unavailable. Her approach is old fashioned: she’s closed off, I know very little about her personally, and she expects her reports to do exactly what they are told with no pushback. She’s also excessively critical and rarely gives praise. Of the 5 people on my team I have discussed this with, not one of them likes working for her. I like my job other than this and I would love to find a way to tolerate the situation until she moves on to another role or company. It’s tough though. I am an experienced professional and I’m accustomed to partnering with my boss and contributing my expertise to decisions, having productive debates, receiving mentorship, etc. How can I cope with a boss like this so I can stay in my role?

comments

Want to comment? LOG IN or SIGN UP
TOP 24 Comments
  • Salesforce / Product Custom
    “Of the 5 people on my team I have discussed this with, not one of them likes working for her.”
    Be careful when it comes to discussing such things with your teammates. Hope you are good friends with them.
    Aug 17, 2018 0
  • New / Eng
    Thelide

    New Eng

    BIO
    This is fun
    Thelidemore
    Welcome to America
    Aug 17, 2018 0
  • Gap rOMj27
    Eh, I’m pretty closed off at work. You don’t need to be emotionally available to be a good boss. It sounds like you have more issues with how she gives criticism.
    Aug 17, 2018 1
    • Apple mrerth
      OP
      I’m looking for the kernel of truth in her criticisms and taking whatever I can seriously. It’s a red flag that I am not the only one that thinks it’s nit picky and veering toward controlling.
      Aug 18, 2018
  • AMD gwIU08
    Tough situation. I would move on. However, if you want to stay, try to find a way to get her a message that she needs to take leadership courses.
    Aug 17, 2018 1
    • Sirius XM DfgIbx0
      Nope. Bad. Good chance she will flip out and OP will end up on her shit list.
      Aug 17, 2018
  • Indeed / PR CDwY37
    Had this kid of boss before. Depending on your goals at work and alternatives outside of this team, you might need to adjust your expectations. Not every boss is alike and chances are we will all encounter “bad bosses” at some point of our career.
    Aug 17, 2018 0
  • Amazon Karma-
    Did you try talking to her exactly what you described here? You may be judging by a cover. Have a candid conversation with her and tell her you don't appreciate certain things in your working relationship and how she can help make it better. Talking through this with her may seem simple but powerful
    Aug 17, 2018 0
  • Sirius XM DfgIbx0
    People generally work for bosses (or not) and not for companies, or so an approximation of that saying goes. It’s a lot harder for her to change because people rarely change than it is for you to cut losses and switch teams or companies. Life is too short to be held down and frustrated by a bad boss.
    Aug 17, 2018 0
  • Marvell USA 🇺🇸
    Is she an immigrant / first generation Chinese lady?? Sounds exactly like fobby Chinese.
    Aug 17, 2018 3
    • Apple Ivy league
      I was just about to ask this..I bet on first gen Chinese lady too
      Aug 17, 2018
    • Apple mrerth
      OP
      Nope Caucasian 40 yo from the east coast
      Aug 18, 2018
    • Marvell USA 🇺🇸
      😳
      Aug 18, 2018
  • Amazon Pooper69
    Where is she from? Could just be her culture
    Aug 17, 2018 2
    • Google / Eng
      🐉⚡

      Google Eng

      PRE
      Google
      BIO
      Shitposter
      🐉⚡more
      Kek
      Aug 17, 2018
    • Apple mrerth
      OP
      The east coast
      Aug 18, 2018
  • New tVMo40
    On the bright side - if you have the fortitude for it, critical feedback is WAY better than banal platitudes...

    “Great job” == no feedback

    “Your presentation was too cluttered” == useful feedback

    Perhaps it’s just perspective.

    I agree with the comment about not necessarily entrusting your feelings too much with the others in the team.

    This might be one of those things where a well-placed comment during a retrospective could help?
    Aug 18, 2018 1
    • Apple mrerth
      OP
      You know what? Maybe I should try to toughen up and take this as an excellent learning opportunity... gonna sit with that idea... ty
      Aug 18, 2018
  • Google / Eng
    🐉⚡

    Google Eng

    PRE
    Google
    BIO
    Shitposter
    🐉⚡more
    What is her TC? Is she married?
    Aug 17, 2018 1
    • Apple mrerth
      OP
      She’s not married. She’s a senior training manager, probably making $180ish
      Aug 18, 2018
  • Amazon User_AMZN
    Leave
    Sep 6, 2018 0
  • New TBIM54
    I think one way would be to "manage up". The serious bosses like you mentioned keep so much inside that they may need some help to cope with it. If her manager is also like her, that puts her in a very bad, sad place.

    Offering her that emotional post candidly could change a lot of things.
    Aug 19, 2018 0
  • Apple mrerth
    OP
    Thanks all for the perspectives. I’m sincerely grateful 🙏
    Aug 18, 2018 0
  • PayPal Bada
    So he is not satya nadella
    Aug 17, 2018 0