Your Boss Does Not Hold the Verdict on You

Aaron McHugh

Boss in a chair

Your boss, customers, company, and coworkers should not hold as much influence on you as they do.

The verdict on your impact, your worth, your genius, and your value is not in their hands.

Too much energy is consumed with interpreting our leadership’s appreciation and acknowledgement of our contribution.

Do your dinner table conversations and dates with your spouse get chewed up with workplace drama?

  • What your boss said
  • What your boss didn’t say
  • How your boss said it
  • Why it should have been said
  • Why it should not have been said

I bet even your spouse is tired of your boss.

Your boss does not hold the verdict on you.

Of course, all of us want to be noticed and appreciated for our workplace contributions, but we often put too heavy a weight on whether or not our boss or company displays appreciation or gratitude for us in the way we desire.

As a result we can internalize feedback or lack there of as a verdict on our workplace value. Although feedback is an indicator, it is not a summary.

Here are some things I have learned that have helped me weather long dry spells of negative feedback or even silence.

Stop doing your work for your boss.

Your idea is not good or bad as a result of the feedback you receive. If you believe you have a great idea, a worthy project, or a good decision, then go for it! Do it because you believe in it and because it is the right thing to do.

Assume the best.

No news is good news. Start heading down the path you believe you should follow and assume the best outcome, assume everyone is supportive, and assume you are going to be successful. If someone in authority has a problem with it, they will tell you so.

Consider the source.

If you consistently receive negative feedback from the same person(s) every time, consider that their negativity might be their own personal problem. It took me a long time to realize that consensus building and democracy is really great most of the time. Some people will never be supportive or helpful. That is just the way they choose to be, and that is OK. Don’t let their negativity stop you from doing your own great work.

Own your mistakes.

If you make a mistake, say so. Own your shortcomings, missteps, bad judgment calls, etc. Most everyone is appreciative and understanding when you say, “I made a mistake. I am sorry.”

Your boss isn’t getting what he needs either.

Yep. Your boss desires the same validation and acknowledgement that you do.  And more than likely if he is not giving it to you, well, he isn’t getting it from his boss, either.

In my story

This one was a massive tectonic shift for me. Once I realized that my boss didn’t have the verdict on me, I was free to do my best work regardless of his or her acknowledgement of it.

It was such a relief.

I had spent so many years attempting to gain the appreciation and confidence of my leaders that I was exhausted.

The truth is, it was like playing a baseball game with one eye on the game and one eye on my boss in the bleachers. As a result, I was never fully in the game because I was more worried about whether or not I was being seen for the great plays I was making.

Now I’ve learned to offer my best work every day and get my head into the game instead of spending so much time wondering what the commentators are saying.

*Expert from eBook: Don’t Quit Your Job. Fire Your Boss.

For your complete free copy download here.

  • Great post Aaron. I can feel the pain of those who brought their boss frustrations home to the dinner table. Both my wife and I have fallen into that trap. And you know what? It didn’t help our marriage, it HURT it!

    • Truthfully, I wrote that as my wife was telling me how tired she was of hearing each day’s drama. Agreed. Wasn’t helping my marriage either. Instead I started internalizing the question “What is really wrong here?” Beyond the daily stuff, what is really going on in this story? It was super helpful. I began pealing back the layers and realizing that ultimately I was looking for validation that I wasn’t receiving.
      Bottom line, it was my problem not my bosses. The better question became “Why am I seeking validation?”
      Keep going Joe. Love your comments.

  • Deep wisdom. Really want to put wheels on this. Take it to the next level. Thanks Aaron.

    • Morgs I think this is actually a future chapter, not just as a quick pass as is shown here. I believe this is a deep rooted source of most of our workplace frustration. And the amount of pressure we can put on our leadership to come thru is likely more than they could deliver anyway.