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Hey Jeff, from all of the articles I've read that you posted , you seem to know how to handle a work environment that may be a little less then "sufficient". I am a young salesmen in a industry full of geriatrics. The youngest gentleman in my office, with the exception of me, is 53 years old. I have a manager that seems to "look down" upon me for my age. Almost as if hes betting against me and hopes he bet the right way. I really enjoy this job, and the opportunity especially for a kid of my age, is amazing to say the least. Im writing to you today to see if you may have any insight on what i can do to better my relationship with my manager. He's a bit "old school" in that hes very stubborn, and its his way or the highway. Also he seems to be the guy who will put the failure all on you, even if he had some doing in the task. Can you give me some pointers on how to handle an individual like this, so i can improve my relationship with him, as well as raising our office chemistry. I want to be able to come to the job i love and have a positive chemistry with everyone to not only benefit my sales, but those of everyone around me. Thank you Jeff!

a year ago

QBrady Duvendack
Mia Raf-Cam
jolene burks

Wow. Okay.

First, accept that it's your job to build a better relationship. He's not going to do it. Whether he should, whether it's fair that you have to... it doesn't matter. Embrace the idea that "if it is to be, it's up to me."

Then take a step back and consider where he's coming from. In all likelihood he feels a little threatened by you: you're young, you're enthusiastic, you have new ideas... and implicit in new ideas is the fact that the old ways -- his ways -- may not be the best ways. So when you suggest a change, or ask a question about a process, he may feel threatened or get defensive, so phrase your comments or questions with that in mind. And don't be above being complimentary: instead of saying, "I think we should do (that)," say, "You're an expert on (this). I'd love to know what you think about us trying (that)..." People appreciate being asked for advice because it implicitly shows you respect their opinion. And it doesn't make it seem like you think you have all the answers.

Then think about how he best processes questions, suggestions, etc. I worked with a fellow supervisor who needed time to think about anything new or different; if I came up with what I thought was a great idea and demanded he give me his opinion, he would always be negative because he needed time to think. I learned to say, "I have an idea I want to run by you... give it some thought for a day or two and then let me know what you think." That transformed our relationship. So think about interactions that haven't been positive in the past, and figure out what you could try differently next time.

Lastly (although I could go on), give some thought to how your manager is evaluated. The more you can do that helps him meet his objectives the more he'll like you. Don't be afraid to ask him what you could do to do your job better, or make his job easier... decide that you will be the kind of person who is willing to adapt, and in time your manager will start to adapt a little to you, too.

And if he doesn't, he may be hopeless -- and that means you might have a different decision to make.

Jeff HadenA
Jeff Hadena year ago

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Jeff Haden

Ghostwriter, Speaker, Inc. Magazine Contributing Editor

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