Do you become tongue-tied around your supervisor? You’re far from alone. By its nature, the employee-boss relationship has uneven dynamics. This person’s perception and actions can affect your career path and your livelihood, so being afraid of doing or saying the wrong thing is rather common. And even if you have an awesome boss, jitters can creep up because you want to succeed in your career and you feel responsible for helping your team to shine.
Nervous people, however, often make mistakes because they can’t focus. They also can be perceived as less competent. Knowing these problems, of course, can make you more nervous – leading to a vicious cycle.
Ready to send your panic packing? Try these confidence building tips:
Get to know your boss as a person
People often fear the unknown, so learning more about your boss may make them less intimidating. Granted, it may be uncomfortable at first to ask questions or to join them occasionally for lunch, but things will improve over time. Discovering a shared love for cooking shows or chatting about what your kids want for Christmas promotes bonding.
Don’t make unfounded judgments
Similarly, try not to get hung up on someone’s title. “Boss” is not immediately synonymous with “jerk,” “incompetent,” “power-hungry,” or the other popular stereotypes. Take a step back and look at actual attitude and behavior. Anxieties may fade away when you realize you rather like this person.
Rehearse common interactions
Think about times that you routinely come into contact with your supervisor. Practicing the points you’d like to make at the next staff meeting or even how you want to respond when asked how your weekend went will better prepare you for those moments. Of course not every conversation can be planned, but making strides to become more comfortable when you can may help with overall relaxation.
Even the most diligent workers make errors, so don’t beat yourself up when one occurs. Instead, summon all your courage to respond to the situation as a professional.
- First, admit the mistake. Trying to cover it up will lead to perpetual worry that your secret will be discovered. Leaders admire those who own up to their actions and don’t blame others.
- Second, offer a genuine apology. Keep it sincere and to the point. Don’t dwell on how sorry you are or call yourself “stupid” – such behavior only makes things more uncomfortable.
- Finally, state how you will rectify the problem (or ask for help in figuring out how to make things better). Taking responsibility will build your confidence and demonstrate to your boss that you are a caring problem solver.
Be a great employee
If you’re giving less than your best, you have reason to worry about being called out. So, arrive on time. Produce quality work. Make good on your promises. Respect deadlines. Manage time wisely. Stay focused and organized. Possess a can-do attitude. Willingly lend a hand to colleagues in need. Avoid gossiping (especially about the boss – you’ll worry about it coming back to haunt you). Be pleasant to everyone. Stay off Facebook except at breaks. You get the picture.
Remember you’re on the same side
In the end, perhaps the best thing to keep in mind when you feel butterflies acting up is that you and your manager are on the same team. Bosses want you to do well — the success of their employees helps the company and reflects well on them. Focus your attention on achieving common goals, and you soon may discover nerves are a thing of the past!