Feedback from boss: “You are extremely smart. You intimidate them. Your team loves working with you.”
What do I do?
Facts, based on your own words from the Boss:
- You are extremely smart. That would seem like a good thing.
- Your peers don’t like working with you. This isn’t so good.
- You intimidate them. Also, not so good!
- Your team loves working with you. This comment seems incongruent with the other three comments.
I’m wondering if these were the only four feedback items that your boss gave you, or have you highlighted the ones you are most uncomfortable with? Each of your boss’s statements cover different areas of your job duties related to interpersonal relationships. If I was working with you as a self-development coach, I would ask you these questions:
- Did your boss provide examples to back up each of their assertions?
- Is there an expectation you will significantly improve your interpersonal relationships … or else?
- Have you considered asking some of your co-workers for feedback on how you relate to them [in a non-threatening manner.]
- Do you find you have the same relationships with people outside of work i.e., friends, non-work colleagues?
These are basic questions. If you haven’t already, I would suggest that you make an appointment with your boss to explore this feedback even deeper. Yes, it will likely be uncomfortable and assuming that your boss wants to help you be the best you can be, they are likely the best person to approach first.
I find the incongruences between how you relate to your peers and how you relate to your team, which presumably you are the leader, to be interesting. Have you given any thought to this?
Many people are more comfortable overseeing a team, that reports to them, when they are in a leadership position. As well, many find it uncomfortable relating to peers. Peers can be supportive, or not. They can be jealous. They can be petty. They can have any characteristics anybody else displays. They can also be supportive and allies. However, the problem may be that being on an equal level i.e., peer, is more challenging than when you are the team leader.
I took some adult educator courses years ago and I recall that some teachers in the program dreaded presenting to their peers. They felt they would be too critical, and they didn’t have their security blanket of being recognized as an authority as they would in their own classroom.
I will not make any suggestions to you based on my assumptions. Intelligence is a great attribute, but it is only one skill needed to survive and thrive in today’s workplace.
I will suggest, that if this job is important to you, that you seek a mentor to help you with this. Together you can work on a plan to identify areas you have deficits in and maximize your strengths. It won’t be easy. Change rarely is. Take BABY steps (Building a Better You).
As I’m writing this response, I recall a boss who once said “You’re very smart Rae, why don’t you quit?” I agreed with him and gave him my expected date of resignation. I also explained that I was changing professions. My life would have been better if I had a mentor back then or even know that the concept existed.
Thanks for your question. Good luck in the next stage of your life’s journey.
For further discussion of conflict and conflict resolution in the workplace, visit the Live For Excellence Book Store for the following publications:
Surviving and Thriving: How to Ensure Your First Year at Work Doesn’t End in Disaster
Bullyproof Your Workplace: Strategies to Prevent Workplace Bullying
PROtect Yourself Now! Violence Prevention for Healthcare Workers
Assert Yourself! Harnessing the Power of Assertiveness in Your Career
Rae A. Stonehouse is an author, speaker, and self-publishing consultant dedicated to helping others embrace constant improvement and overcome challenges. With over 40 years of experience as a Registered Nurse in psychiatry and mental health, Rae brings a wealth of knowledge and passion for self-development to his writing and presentations.
As a 25+ year member of Toastmasters International, Rae has systematically built his communication abilities and self-confidence to share his insights as an author and speaker. His self-help books and personal development presentations aim to have conversational one-on-one connections with readers and audiences.
Rae is known for his wry sense of humor and sage advice delivered in a relatable coaching style. After four decades as a nurse, Rae has rewired rather than retired, actively writing and pursuing public speaking. He strives to share lessons learned to help others achieve personal and professional growth.