What should I do about my boss’ negative energy?

Friday May 29 2020


By Caroline Mboijana

I am very demotivated and feel unvalued at work. My boss is always on the lookout for a grain of negatives in my work even when everyone else says I am doing a good job. I give my job my best but I am never appreciated. My boss’ negative energy just drains me, what should I do? Rose

Dear Rose,
Feeling undervalued or unappreciated can have adverse effects on employee morale and engagement. It is understandable that you feel demotivated and unenthusiastic about your work. We might be unable to control other people’s behaviour towards us but can definitely control how their behaviour affects us.

Your ability to manage this situation will be determined and influenced by your emotional resilience / emotional intelligence. Important aspects in recognising whether you are emotionally resilient and or have the required emotional intelligence is validated by your ability to manage your self-control, your mood and recognising your self-worth.

In addition, it’s equally important you have a good understanding and appreciation some fundamental emotions such as empathy, the ability to care and are open to understand the situation. All these aspects are important as you try and manage the situation in an objective manner.

Consider sitting down with your boss and seeking clarity on what his/her expectations of you are- what does “a good job” look like to your boss and to the company as a whole? Ask him/her what the critical areas of your job are, timelines/deadlines, delivery methods, and relevant reporting. Then, request for appointments to review your work and set new objectives. Such appointments could happen weekly or monthly, depending on availability. Let your boss know that you are willing to learn, open to feedback, and committed to obtaining the right results.

Secondly, ask your boss what areas you need to improve, request for his/her help or solicit the support of colleagues, or even enrol for short or professional courses. This will help you close knowledge gaps, improve your skills, and make you more marketable for other positions. Thirdly, it would be most beneficial to find an outlet for the negative energy from work, which is something everyone experiences.


Exercising, talking to a trusted friend about work/life challenges (which is different from gossiping), and engaging in hobbies like reading novels, watching movies, going dancing, etc. help you blow off steam and reduce stress. Last but not least, get enough sleep!

Caroline Mboijana,
Managing Director,
The Leadership Team (U)