Career clinic

Your career dilemmas answered by experts

Q: I recently went for an internal promotion but didn’t get it because, apparently, the successful candidate has more skills and experience than me. WilmottThat person has since started and become my manager and we’re not getting on. He keeps criticising my work – I’ve never had this problem before and have always scored highly in my appraisals – and calling meetings that I should be running. No-one else in the team seems to have a problem with him, but one of them has suggested my new boss feels threatened by me. What shall I do?

A: It is not easy for anyone to stick with their job after applying for and not getting an internal promotion, writes Ben Willmott, employee relations adviser at the Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development. But it is important to find out exactly why you didn’t get the job. If this is due to another candidate possessing more skills and experience, then try to find out exactly what these extra skills are. Gaining more experience and skills will show determination and commitment and will also ensure you are more prepared next time.

Regarding the problems with your manager, you are not alone. Many people experience problems with their managers. As a new manager he will probably have a different way of working and want to make a good impression, therefore he might try to improve processes. So, while you feel your work is being criticised it might simply be that your manager is trying to challenge you, make changes or improve systems.

Whatever the situation, it is important to improve the working relationship if you are unhappy or it is having a negative impact on your work. Arrange a suitable time to meet and discuss some of the issues in order to get the situation resolved.

Make sure you outline the conflicts and use examples. Often problem people are unaware that some aspect of their behaviour is problematic so the very act of pointing it out may be sufficient. You are not always going to get along with all your colleagues on a personal level but you need to create a good working relationship. It is important to sit down face to face so that you understand each other’s needs and decide exactly who is responsible for what. This will help you build a common vision and then enable you to set realistic goals and objectives.

Once you have overcome some of the immediate problems with your manager it would be worthwhile organising a career discussion. This will help you gain a clear sense of direction, better understand your career options and increase confidence and motivation.

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