My manager is very impatient and often criticises me. I cant take criticism well and have a low threshold of stress. What can I do to get stronger (to cope) on my own and without changing her at all?
Last Updated: 03/21/2021 at 6:41am
Lara Gregorio, LCSW
I believe that depression can feel all-consuming. I have a real passion for helping my clients to reclaim their voices and lives from depressive thoughts.
Top Rated Answers
Remind myself regularly that I do my work the best I can. Do not let stress get the best of me : take short pauses between tasks, use humor, connect with my colleagues regularly. Thank or otherwise reinforce my boss whenever he is supportive and positive. Assert the right to be treated fairly and respectfully while trying to reinforce the positive relationship with my boss. Reinforce my own resources outside of the workplace: exercise regularly at least 2-3 hours a week, eat lots of fruits/vegetables, take magnesium or vitamins from time to time, make quality sleep a priority, make sure to have a life outside work (leisure time, hobbies, friends). Reach out to a friend for compassionate listening from time to time.
Well, I have had similar experiences on my job and I got to the point where it was just wearing me out until I went to my doctor, to get something to help me to relax and to focus better on my job. It might just be time for you to visit your doctor and tell him or her what is going on with you and that you need something to help you to deal with the stress that your job is causing you. Just be honest and tell your doctor all about what is going on with you and I'm sure that your doctor will be more than happy to give you something to help you to relax and to be more productive on your job. I wish you nothing but the best as you move forward with your progress and getting your stress level under control.
The first thing to realize is that you can only control yourself. You can't control the way other people act and you certainly can't control the way that people treat you. It sounds like you're well on your way to making that realization, so congratulations to you! It's difficult to feel like we're being micromanaged or picked at, especially in the workplace where so many of us take pride in what we're doing and want to be successful. I encourage you to take a look at the work stress self-help guide: https://www.7cups.com/work-related-stress/ There are many steps there that will help you come to terms with your work stress and make some difficult decisions about how to move forward.
Work is a stressful environment a lot of the time, so you are not alone. I think a part of understanding and taking criticism is learning to respect other people’s opinions, but not let them hit you too hard. Listen, but then move on. My last boss was not a good people person and quite often was very critical in blunt on how he addressed issues at the job. I learned this, and learned to just keep doing my best with the situation I am in. That’s all you can do sometimes. I’m sure you’ll figure it all out. You’ll do great
Sorry you have a difficult manager right now. I definitely understand your pain. Sometimes changing jobs isn't a viable option. And learning to cope with critical people can be a helpful life skill. As you say, you can't change your supervisor (or anyone), so you are left with learning to cope with her. My recommendation is to practice being assertive of your own opinions, judgments, and observations about yourself. This is the best way to overcome the cruel little voices that arise in our minds that sound like our critical bosses and parents. Unfortunately we can't really turn those voices off, but we can pay attention to them and respond with logic and facts. So practice internally questioning the things your boss says to you. Form your own internal opinions on questions like: am I being treated unfairly? am I doing as much work as most others? did i follow policy here? is there even a policy on this issue? Basically we want to criticize your boss' criticism. Overwrite your boss' opinions with your own. If your boss is way out of line then you may want to say something or write an email to your boss' supervisor.
I struggled with that in the past. My office manager would tell me to use my brain. I was the new girl and she felt so full of herself for being the manager. I started therapy shortly after and learned that I am not defined by the flaws of others. It's your Manager's job to train you properly not to degrade you. You have self worth, you bring value to your company, and it's up to you to define your boundaries. Is the criticism constructive? Will it make you a better employee? Or is it personal? If it's too personal then I would have a chat with the manager about them going too far. I ended up quitting after four months but your situation might be resolved with a chat to establish those boundaries. That was not an option for me.
It is good to get used to these steps, to cope in time with criticism. When facing it: 0. take a deep breath, avoid jumping with an answer. Let the stress go down a bit (the pause will bring you also bit of attention from the other side) 1. say how you felt the criticism. Let's start and example: "I felt disappointed when hearing that about me I am always late to morning meetings" 2. show yourself available for a solution OR mention your strengths in solving similar situations "... I am ready to find a resolution for the situation..." OR "... usually I am an excellent driver and I do the commute in 1 hour sharp and I am on time..." 3. talk about the limitations you and the other side mutually agree to respect OR recognize your fault and fit it "... we all agreed to be reasonable about the morning commute as long there are road blocks on the highway..." OR "... this time I left to late, sorry, and will not happen again..." Try to read now the three parts together, in one sentence. Exercise your own situation, and use your strengths in developing them. Keep some answers on the side for the future meetings with your boss.
Your manager will no doubt have her own pressures and is doing her best with the interpersonal skills she has. Most managers miss that the big part of management is leadership. They often don't understand that things are managed and people are led. It might not feel easy, but try to see her through compassionate eyes, and if possible/appropriate acknowledge the pressure she is experiencing, because that is what she is likely trying to convey to you. Be patient and forgiving with yourself, because being hard on yourself is like trying to dig yourself out of a hole. Lastly, reflect on your time management and planning to consider whether there is some room for doing something differently. Take time to assess what needs to be done and process the thinking around that, then undertake it as best you can, knowing and trusting that you did the best you could at the time.
Having strong boundaries are huge (and knowing you are worthy of having those boundaries). An open and honest conversation about how you want to receive feedback is huge. You have to let your supervisor know what will make you successful and how to best provide feedback. Also having a strong support system at work and home can help as well. In addition working on healthy lifestyle habits (including stress management is huge). Exercising, not consuming caffeine, breathing exercises, even being outside for a time can be a huge help. You are more than the stress and more than the problems. Keep pushing on!
Managers want their employees to perform their best. The criticism may or not be accurate. It sounds like it is not being communicated in a constructive manner. Try to think that their criticism isn't necessarily about you. You're just the person in front of them when they are upset. If you can keep your cool, you're already doing better than they are. Pay attention to all the times you do handle stress well, not just the times you don't. I think you will find that you are handling a lot of stress quite well. Maybe you can find a pattern of how you do manage stress well. It's important to give yourself the care you need to be able to perform well.
i think instead of focusing on everything you are doing wrong, focus on some things that you are doing really well. it doesn't have to be something really big, it could just be like "i did this task well", or "i am respectful to everyone". i think that if you focus on what you are doing well, then you can also focus on what you could improve at. if your manager is really getting frusturated and you feel like you can't cope, have an open discussion with her, or maybe even consider switching jobs. your workplace should be a safe enviornment for you, physically and emotionally.
By understanding that we cannot control another’s behavior or how the other person may be feeling. It helps to realize and understand that we CAN control how we perceive a situation or how we react to any situation. So be mindful, do your best to communicate in a professional and assertive way that expresses how you do not intend to disappoint him or her but that you take specific actions to achieve desired results. Ask questions when you are given directions or assigned a project/task. Be sure you clearly understand what their expectations are. And do your best work. But keep in mind, some people are just that way. You cannot please everyone 100% of the time. Don’t take it personal when they may just be having a hard day.
The first thing would be to accept that we are all in some manner under stress and realize the manager in question could also in a sense discard some of her stress onto you (being home or work related), not everyone is so in tune with their emotions as you are, so the first thing is to forgive her for maybe not taking the best of approaches, the second is to forgive oneself, you may be rightfully criticized but I'm sure it's not every time rightfully accurate and these things can also be discussed over a cup of coffee or tea
It is honorable of you to want to improve yourself. I commend you for wanting tools to improve your performance and coping mechanisms. My suggestions would certainly be to meditate and do breathing exercises, by starting with quieting the mind for a few minutes each day, you will be less reactive to her, and stimuli, and more responsive (better able to choose your words and approach when the criticism arises) and the breath training or work will raise your stress threshold. By starting there, the cognitive next steps are easier to manage or succeed at. I would suggest that once you have spent a few weeks do the meditations and breath work, moving on to having thoughtful discussions when she approaches you with criticism. Through your inner work, you will be able to ask her more about what she is presenting in the criticism, or in her tone. Through the questions and dialogue, you will likely begin to see the criticism either differently or with a different understanding that you might have previously.
Practice labeling your emotions. Putting a name to your feelings decreases their intensity. So whether you're feeling sad, anxious, angry, or scared, acknowledge it--at least to yourself. Also, pay attention to the way those emotions can affect your choices. When you're feeling anxious you may be less inclined to take risks. When you're excited you may be more impulsive. Increasing your awareness of your emotions can decrease the chances that you'll make irrational decisions based on emotions only.
To cope with such situations it is better to look at things or areas at which you are criticised(the most to least), Criticism always comes either from not accepting the way how you work or any other reason. Changing things according to her may help her to understand that you are trying to work according to her. Even talking to her or trying to communicate with her how you feel may also help. I understand that it could be difficult, but you are a personnel under her and a human at the same time. I hope this helps you.
Criticism hurts when you believe it. The key is to find a stable sense of self-worth - things you like about yourself, or even just recognizing that no matter what people say, you have unlimited potential. Surround yourself with people who appreciate you more. Also recognize that some people have idealistic expectations of you, when in fact everyone is imperfect and learning to perform well at a job takes time. I actually kind of feel sorry for your manager because her expectations likely lead her & her teammates to disappointment and sap their energy. Criticism and negativity are both coping mechanisms that don't really work. Finally, there are workplaces and managers that do respect their employees and use encouragement to lift them up and deliver better results. You don't have to stay at this job forever, and it doesn't make you less of a person if you leave.
It's saddening that your manager is unable to respect your boundaries. It might be good to talk to a therapist about this and journal about it to take some of that dark energy out. Other ideas include: peppering yourself with positive and factual self-affirming statements that you can write down and then open later when you are feeling down. Then, you can remind yourself of the other instances where people said good things about you. Remind yourself that the manager's views are opinions and not a reflection of who you are as a person. Opinions are personal judgement that hold little to no meaning in other environments. There are people who get told that they cannot do a thing, but in the end they are able to do that and more. Keep your head high. Hold an air of indifference. If it's truly toxic, attempt to apply to jobs when you get home. That way, you can count the days until you can escape.
Well it’s hard to take criticism from anyone. But if you think of it if more of a helpful tip then it might help you. I don’t take criticism well either but once you learn your strengths and your weaknesses it’s so much easier to try and take the criticism. Also try not to look into the criticism as much, that can totally help with your stress level and it will make other things in life a lot easier to handle. Find the positive side of things and it can also help with you threshold. It is ok to feel this way, but you should also try and talk to your manager as well just to let her know how you feel.
That is a great question! It is always good to realize that you can't change others but you can change yourself. I have a question for you . . . what do you think would help you to increase your ability to manage your stress. I know for myself I saw a counselor who helped me develop ways to manage my stress in positive ways. I also did not do well accepting criticism until I learned to receive it as feedback that could help me get better at my job and not as criticism of my character. I don't know if either of those things could help you but I believe that the fact that you recognize in yourself something that you would like to change is a great first step in accomplishing the change that you desire. Most of all, I know that you are strong because you are willing to change and that can be a frightening experience at times. Good luck!
Everyone has a different threshold when dealing with stress. Here are some helpful tools to help you cope. When knowing you have to deal with your manager create a list of what makes you less stressed such as having rubber bands around and snapping the band on your wrist. Along with that try talking to her about the criticism mentioning that it is stressing you out. However, without changing her you should sit down in your work environment away from any other listeners. If you do not want to do this, always take a moment sometimes to walk away and gather your thoughts.
Be able to discern what you can change and improve, and what you have no power over. You cannot control everything, so might as well concentrate on things you can change. If you see that you could do better, try your best. If you see that you already do your best, then you cannot do more and it's okay. So if your boss criticise for something you can't anything about, dont put that weight all over you shoulder. Life is a contribution of a lot factors. Knowing that you did the best you could makes you feel at peace with yourself.
Remember you are important and a person of value. Your manager is displaying short comings. You deserve to be treated with respect and dignity. If you are being treated that way that person is wrong. Given your position you may not be able to confront them directly, but you should remind yourself you are valuable and their behavior is not appropriate. They (though it may be hard to muster) deserve your empathy and forgiveness. If you don’t feel comfortable talking to your manager directly, you may want to approach your Human Resources Department for advice as well. Remember no one is perfect. We all need a little help every once in a while, . . . even cranky managers.
I like to think that I handle constructive criticism well. Though, it isn't easy for me to hear criticism about myself. When I consider criticism about me, I let it percolate in my head. Is it something I should address or not? Is it something I can address quickly, or will it take a long time? And how does addressing it contribute to my goals at work? Based on those answers, I develop a plan of action to improve myself. Or I decide to take no action, because there will always be someone who won't be pleased with my actions. That is my own action plan to address criticism. I would suggest developing your own, and do what works best for you.
if the criticism gets worse, you should tell someone you trust. you could do the things you enjoy the moment you arrive home or when im stressed and pressured, i will actually go to the pantry or toilet to listen to some music and do some breathing escersizes. always try your best to take the critism and you can always come to 7cups and talk to one of our many listeners whenever you want. it is easy to ask for help from others especially the ones you trust! sometimes, a short and wholesome cry always helps to comfort me
How does being criticized make you feel? What about being criticized makes you feel stressed? Criticism can creqte a very difficult and stressful work environment. What kind of expectations does your manager have for you and how do they align with the expectations you have set for yourself? Criticism can be a very hard thing to deal.with and understandably so. It can be especially frustrating to deal with criticism when we do not see any flaws in how we are accomplishing tasks. Why do you think your manager appears to be impatient and has he or she expressed their standards?
Write down and date anything she says to you that you don't like, and go to your higher manager and complain. This should get you on the road to resolving the situation and will make you feel stronger. Every company has its own procedure for this, so you may have to do some research online, or find yourself a solicitor maybe. I hope this helps you. Sometimes if you believe in yourself a bit more and have a bit more confidence it is easier to take critisism because you have the back up of your own confidence and self esteem then. Perhaps try writing a victory log every day of five things you think you have done well on that day.
When you feel stress and exhausted especially at work. Take some minute to breathe, and calm yourself. We can work on criticisms by taking them as a challenge in order to make ourselves better. Some criticisms may said by unusual words that may let us feel belittles or offended but let see it as a way to learn. Accept the challege to be better everyday. Working in handling emotions are not easy, but we can try some practices to somehow be able to manage it. Watch some videos regarding emotional management, ask advice from family and friends. At work there will be times our superior may said something but as long as it do not cross the line, try to prove her wrong. Show her that you can be the best, show her that you can accept challenges.
When ever that was the case, if you can't change shifts away form your boss, I'd pick my battles. Take deep breaths, and focus on what she's trying to explain to you. If she's just being nasty, I'd consider either sitting her down and telling her what's going on or going above her head. If that doesn't work, don't push yourself to stay, that's probably the worst thing you could do for your mental health and wellbeing. I had to quit my manager job because the owners were being extremely unfair and nasty. After I left I was a completely different person :)
Try to observe what your managers life is like. Just as you have your own quirks like the kind you have described, so does your manager. Your manager is impatient and critical because she has her own issues that she may not handle so well. If you can understand WHY she is the way she is, it will help to humanize her and make her easier to sympathize with. Thus, helping you to not take it so personally. People have a funny way of feeling a sense of control in their lives and sometimes this comes out in not-so-helpful ways.
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