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Talking to Your Boss When You Don't Feel Appreciated

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An effective boss knows the power of valuing her employees and showing it. She does not take them for granted because she understands that appreciating and supporting them can lead to greater productivity and loyalty. Managers who do not show appreciation risk problems such as low employee morale and high turnover. If you feel undervalued as an employee, devise a plan to speak to your boss about it.

Defining the Issue

Before you approach your boss, verify that you are not imagining or exaggerating his lack of appreciation. Examine the issues and events that have contributed to your opinion and decide whether they warrant a meeting. For example, you might notice that he never expresses gratitude for your work, but he did give you a standard raise on your last performance review. Though a verbal thank-you would be nice, consider the fact that he gave you a raise. However, if he always says “thank you” to everyone except you, then you should be concerned. Focus on raising issues that are professional rather than emotional in nature. Examine your own behaviors as well to determine whether you are being appreciative toward others. If you feel you have a legitimate gripe, request a private meeting with your boss at his convenience.

Sharing Your Reasons

In the meeting with your boss, encourage a positive atmosphere by keeping the discussion upbeat rather than dwelling on the negative. State what you like about the company or your job, or why you enjoy working for your boss or your co-workers. Next, say that you would like to continue in your current career path, but certain situations are preventing you from feeling like a valued employee. Describe the instances that have caused you to feel this way, and be specific. For example, if you recently finished a large project and your boss immediately added more work to your list of tasks without showing appreciation for the job you did, say that you sometimes feel overworked and underappreciated.

Devising Solutions

You should have a list of proposed solutions to the problem before you meet with your boss. If not, she might think you are simply complaining. Even if she does not openly admit it, your boss might know that she is being unappreciative, and she probably intended no harm by it. Now that you have brought it to her attention, she might want to resolve the issue. Describe your solutions to the problem and encourage her to brainstorm alternatives with you. For example, you might both agree that you can leave work early on Fridays to compensate for the long hours you put in earlier in the week.

Hearing Your Boss Out

You might find that your boss has a different take on the problem than you. For example, if you feel unappreciated because you have been repeatedly overlooked for a promotion, he might reveal that it’s because you lack certain work attributes or skills. An appropriate response would be to ask what you can do to enhance your skills and improve your performance.

Deciding Whether to Stay

You cannot change your boss. All you can do is present your case to him logically and hope for a mutually beneficial outcome. If your boss is dictatorial or lacks empathy, he might not see your side of things and may view you as a whiner or even ungrateful. If you are bringing a lot to the table and your boss continues to show you no appreciation, you run the risk of becoming stressed and burnt out. Decide whether it is worth it to stay in this situation or if you should move on to another job where you stand a better chance of being appreciated, even if it only means transferring to a different department in your current company. If you enjoy your job or like working for the company and your boss’ good traits outweigh the bad, it might be worth it to stick around.


Grace Ferguson has been writing professionally since 2009. With 10 years of experience in employee benefits and payroll administration, Ferguson has written extensively on topics relating to employment and finance. A research writer as well, she has been published in The Sage Encyclopedia and Mission Bell Media.

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