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Grow Your Business Your Team

My Boss Wants Me to Quit: Now What?

Boss wants me to quit
Credit: Lewis Tse Pui Long/Shutterstock

Among the most important things in a company's culture is a sense of appreciation and purpose. It should start with the most senior person in the company and trickle down to the newest employee. When an employee feels valued, the sky is the limit for their productivity and potential. But when the appreciation isn't there, however, the employee begins to feel that their leader, manager or boss may not even want them to work there anymore. They start to wonder – does my boss want me to quit?

A study by CareerBuilder revealed that more than one-quarter of bosses have an employee who reports to them that they would like to see leave the company. Rosemary Haefner, vice president of human resources for CareerBuilder, said it's important that managers be as direct as possible when dealing with employees who, for whatever reason, aren't a good fit for their teams.

"Fortunately, a plurality of managers in our survey were open to confronting the situation through a formal discussion or warning; however, some will do nothing at all, or even resort to passive-aggressive behaviors that can only prolong a negative working arrangement," Haefner said. "It's important that workers be aware of such warning signs, and if necessary, take steps to improve their situations."

For those bosses who aren't always straightforward, there are some warning signs that may help employees recognize when to start looking at alternatives. According to Forbes, signs that a boss might be trying to encourage you to leave include the following:

  • Not assigning new or challenging work to build your skill set
  • Burying your work so no one else sees what you've accomplished
  • Pointing out to other managers where you stumbled
  • Backhanded compliments that praise you for one thing while belittling you for another 
  • Keeping you out of the loop regarding new company developments
  • Communicating primarily over email instead of in person or on the phone
  • Excluding you from certain meetings, projects and social gatherings with co-workers

It is tempting to respond in kind in those situations, but the best thing for an employee to do is keep their head up, rededicate themselves to performing well, and look for other, positive ways to deal with such passive-aggressive behavior.

Haefner offers these tips for those employees who do think their boss isn't very happy with them to help repair the relationship, including:

Recommit to performance. Employees should identify areas where they can improve immediately and display their commitment to the company's objectives. More than 60 percent of managers say the best thing a worker can do after a falling out with the boss is to simply improve the quality of work. In most cases, the negative attitudes will be history.

Don't hold a grudge or gossip. Nearly 60 percent of managers think one's ability to "move forward and not hold a grudge" is important to repairing working relationships. This is a two-way street, of course, but workers who display professionalism in spite of personal differences are in a better position to navigate office politics. Similarly, 38 percent of managers say simply not discussing the falling out with other colleagues is a smart way to repair a relationship.

Rewrite the terms. Employees who sense their manager is pushing them away must take pre-emptive action by presenting ideas that may improve the working relationship. Workers have the right to clear expectations of their roles and responsibilities. A conversation that redefines or clarifies those expectations is sometimes necessary. 

Improve your quality of life away from work. A tense atmosphere at work can hang with you at the end of the day. Outside of work, do things that you enjoy and let that attitude come to work with you every morning. You may see things in a different light, and it may improve the attitudes of those around you as well.

In short, individuals who take the high road, stay professional, and are willing to engage in open and honest communication put themselves in the best position to succeed, either with their current company or the next opportunity.

Additional reporting by Chad Brooks. Some source interviews were conducted for a previous version of this article.

Marci Martin

With an Associate's Degree in Business Management and nearly twenty years in senior management positions, Marci brings a real life perspective to her articles about business and leadership. She began freelancing in 2012 and became a contributing writer for Business News Daily in 2015.