Should an employee be able to have a candid conversation with their boss?
I feel that whenever I try to speak my mind and explain how things are in my job, as my boss does not know what I do she runs to the controller stating that I am not being cooperative and I am complaining. I work more overtime than any one in my department, usually alone working Saturdays or Sundays and this month I had not been. So anyway work has been piling up. Instead of being appreciative of what I do I am being criticized for not letting them take advantage of me. Or is this because my manager does not know how to do her job?
A boss once told his employees he had an "open door" policy. Some employees took him up on it and came in to complain. They soon learned the boss also had an "open window" as well!
In very few instances can an employee be "candid" with a boss. There is always a "line" between management and employee. In their eyes your job is to make him or her look good to their boss!
Anyone who does that is generally given some preferential treatment.
The first time I read Dale Carnegie's "How to Win Friends and Influence People". I felt like it was all about "brown nosing" or kissing ass!
However there is some real psychological benefits to thinking about what the "other guy" (wants or needs) before trying to get what you want from them. Most people are inherently selfish by nature. Very few people have a "strategy" for dealing with various personalities of different people in order to get what they ultimately want.
Complaining to a boss rarely leads to endearment unless you also bring them possible solutions to address the problem.
If your boss does not appreciate you then make sure you have fortified your relationship with the controller. Maybe he/she is unaware of your weekend dedication. The occasional email sent to them on a Saturday/Sunday or 4AM on a week day with some ideas may elevate your status in his/her mind.
Make it game! If you aren't going to quit your job you might as well have fun learning how to manipulate the management team in order to get what (you) want. Create a profile of your boss make notes of what gets them excited or puts them in a good moods versus stresses them out or causes them to explode. Soon you'll be able to play them like a fiddle
There are two answers in my mind to your question. Yes, you SHOULD be able to have a candid conversation with your boss. In my career I have worked with large companies to challenge the hierarchical structure of companies, & to teach executives & managers how very important & unique each employee is; that they are not just the "job" they do. Needless to say, this undertaking has been strenuous, incredibly frustrating & at times it feels hopeless.
The second answer to your question is that after reading your comments elaborating on your question: unfortunately, you probably will not be successful in future attempts to communicate with your boss the same way. I think your manager knows how to do her job in the construct that has been created within this company. Behavior such as open communication is not supported when it relates to your "feelings" or your "needs". The problem in your situation is that you are not happy and if you continue to attempt communication the way you have in the past, your results will remain the same.
Dashingscorpio is SPOT ON advising you to look to other ways in which you can have your voice heard. Make yourself visible to others in the company in very positive ways. This not only includes upper management, but also your co-workers.
Dashingscorpio mentioned that it is important if you bring a problem to the table of a manager, that manager also expects you to present a solution. Most management books I read during my education & as I continue to learn as a consultant tell managers that this is what they need to expect from employees.
So...if you are working too much overtime, take some options to your boss. It should not be considered complaining in her mind if you also bring her solutions. Perhaps overtime is sometimes necessary, but when it is recurring - can you do it from home? Can it be split between a couple of employees (bring them a name of someone willing to share)? Perhaps you see some ways in which the work can be done more efficiently, thus reducing overall overtime for the whole company (the controller will LOVE you).
Remember, think out of the box and definitely read dashingscorpio's comment thoroughly. Tailoring communication to the other person is vital. If things do not change - might be time to job hunt & find a company that may be a better fit & a better place to expend the energy & resources you give a business each day. You ARE important!!!
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