How to Avoid Being on Thin Ice at the Office



When you notice that you are being left out of meetings or the boss stops communicating with you regularly, or your colleagues are no longer friendly, you may be on thin ice at the office. Misunderstanding important external factors on the job is a common mistake that leads to a job loss.


Knowing what your boss’s values or priorities are is important to success in the office. When your manager starts ignoring you, there’s a reason for it, so it is important to ask specific questions about how you’re doing. You should also find out how your boss will be evaluating your performance, and strive to meet those benchmarks.


Employees can also go off course if they overvalue or misjudge their own knowledge and skills. Avoid having an overinflated sense of your strengths and capabilities, and seek out advice from colleagues you trust on how you may be able to improve your performance. Individuals who have a preconceived idea of their strengths, called top-down thinking, often assume they are good in all areas of their job that require this skill set. Another trend in thinking, called the Dunning-Kruger effect, is the inability to see your poor performance in a specific area, and the inability to accept advice from others who are trying to clue you in. Even those who are considered superstars can let their strengths blind them to their weaknesses and end up on the outs. Asking for criticism from colleagues who will be honest with you will help you avoid the slippery slope down to the thin ice.


Bosses may be slow to offer criticism, and often respond to subtle messages not to provide negative feedback to a struggling employee. Do not ignore or dismiss signals from your boss to improve your performance.  Be sure not to isolate yourself if you feel you need to make some changes, but instead maintain good open dialogue with your boss, peers, and subordinates. Colleagues are often the first to see the writing on the wall so keep communicating with them. Ironically, the higher up you move in your office to more complex jobs and responsibilities, the more likely it is that you will be isolated or not receive honest feedback from friends and colleagues who are hesitant to find fault.


Source: Wall Street Journal: “Know When You’re on Thin Ice at Work,” by Sue Shellenbarger, October 25, 2017

Carolina Recruitment believes in being more than just a staffing agency.  Our team of experienced job recruiters knows what it takes to find you a great career opportunity based on your unique skills.  Contact us today at to see how we can help you build a better future and career.