Office Coach: Whenever you fight the boss, you lose

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Question: One of my co-workers, "Andrea," was recently promoted to a higher-level position. I applied for the same job but was never even interviewed. My boss says Andrea has the necessary qualifications, but I have investigated and found that this is not true.

I have also learned that my manager secretly helped Andrea prepare for the interview. But when I requested a recommendation, she never followed through. Now I'm concerned that she may be belittling me to other managers in the company.

I find myself spending a lot of time monitoring my manager's behavior and trying to keep other people in the group on my side. I would really like to move to another department, because all this negativity is exhausting. Do you have any advice?

Answer: Saying that you need to "keep people on your side" makes it sound as though you are engaged in some sort of battle with your boss. If she perceives you as adversarial, that may explain her reluctance to recommend you for a higher-level job. Since managers always have their own grapevine, your boss's negative perception might also affect your ability to transfer within the company. Without "belittling" you, your manager could still share the opinion that you are somewhat challenging to manage.

The bottom line is that, even if you dislike your manager, you will nevertheless benefit from having her support. In the long run, employees who go to war with the boss usually lose, simply because managers have more power.


Marie G. McIntyre is a workplace coach. Visit


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