Did your boss’ attitude towards you suddenly change? Maybe they started giving you more work, became too critical, or got you to stay longer hours at work. You may be wondering if this means that your boss is showing their true colors, or whether those are signs they’re testing you.
One thing to note is that bosses are tasked with handling the complexities of a business organization. This is tough work, and making sure they’re working with competent employers helps them keep the organization afloat. So rather than it being a sudden show of their ‘true colors’, it’s more likely attempts to test you, and they may have good reasons to want to do so.
4 Reason Your Boss Would Want To Test You
To Assess Your Skills And Abilities
A business needs all the competent hands it can get if it must thrive. A few incapable and unskilled workers can lead a business down the road of gradual death. To avert this, bosses need to make sure their employees have the capacity to do their jobs, and if they are qualified to take on a new positions.
So your boss may want to test you to assess either of two things: to see if you’re a good fit for your current position, or if you’re qualified for a higher role in the organization.
To Gauge Your Work Ethics And Attitude
We are usually not at our best during bad days. In the workplace, a bad day can mean when there is too much to do or when we’re put under a lot of pressure. It is typical to buckle, take shortcuts, or loosen our ethics on such a day.
Yet, those who have mastered keeping a level head when it gets hot are the ones that tend to make the most positive contribution in an organization. Those who can’t can dent the reputation of the organization they work for, or produce suboptimal results. Your boss may be testing you to see how hard you can work, or how well you handle pressure.
To See If You’re A Good Fit For The Team
Cooperation is everything in an organization. There is a reason why Google’s headquarter has an open floor plan: to maximize human interaction, which they believe is a prime cause of creativity. It’s not just Google, most tech companies do this in attempts to harness the power of serendipity.
What that means is that worker in an organization need to cooperate. This is not an option, it’s a prerequisite. You need to get along with your colleague, and your boss can choose to test you to find out how well you work with others and contribute to the overall success of the team.
To See If You Have Potential For A Higher Role
The result of good work is not necessarily rest, but more work. Performing well in your current role attests that you are ready for something bigger. Yet, how well you performed in an old role is no guarantee you will excel in a new and higher one. Every role comes with unique challenges, and your boss may want to test you to see if you have the skills and abilities necessary to succeed in a higher position.
7 Signs Your Boss Is Testing You
As we have seen, there are many reasons why your boss may want to test you. Having established that, here are 7 telltale signs that could be what they are doing:
They Give You More Work
An unusually hectic workload can put you under pressure. It is the ideal way to figure out how you perform under pressure. So a sudden increase in your workload could be a sign that your boss is trying to see how well you can handle pressure and manage your time.
Your boss may want to observe how you perform under pressure for any of the reasons mentioned above.
They Give You Challenging Work
Individuals in a workplace have their capabilities, some can handle complex tasks more than others. Bosses understand this and can apportion tasks accordingly. Yet, allowing things to always be this way will mean that employees are not challenged to grow and improve.
So if your boss starts assigning you more difficult tasks, it could be a way to assess your skills and capabilities. It could be your boss wanting you to level up and see if you can handle something bigger.
They Give You Less Feedback Than Usual
People work because they want a reward, but that’s not the only reason why. A 1985 theory by two American psychologists, Richard Ryan and Edward Deci, made it clear that people are also motivated by autonomy: the desire to be the causal agent in their lives.
The more autonomous they feel in the workplace, the more satisfied and engaging they get. But one reason why bosses may want to deprive employees of this much desired autonomy is the likelihood of abuse.
With constant feedback, bosses make sure they maintain their input in tasks. But if your boss stops giving you as much feedback as they used to, it could be a sign that they are waiting to see how you perform when given autonomy and allowed to work on your own. When this happens, will you still care about producing good works and beating deadlines, or not? These are some of the things they may want to find answers to by testing you.
They Put You In The Spotlight
Staying in the comfort zone of positions and tasks you’re used to is bliss. It keeps you from taking risks that may end up resulting in failures and embarrassments. Yet, growth doesn’t happen within your comfort zone. You need to step out.
When your boss starts putting you in the spotlight: if they start calling you more often in meetings or giving you more opportunities to present your work, it’s them drawing you off your comfort zone. And this could be a sign that they are testing your leadership and communication skills. Putting you in the spotlight is also one of the signs that your boss wants to promote you.
They Ask You To Lead A Project Team
Just like when putting you on the spotlight can be a sign of an attempt to get you off your comfort zone and get you to try new things, if your boss asks you to lead a project or team, it could be a sign that they are testing your ability to take on more responsibility and delegate tasks. Asking you to lead projects is also among the signs that your boss sees you as a leader.
They Give You Unusual Tasks
The workplace is a complex environment, thriving there requires an above-average level of adaptability and problem-solving skills. Giving you things that are outside your normal job duties could be a way to test how adaptable and how much of a problem solver you are.
They Micromanage You
Your boss can test you both by withdrawing their feedback and by paying closer attention to your work. When they start paying unusual attention to your work, it could be a sign that they are testing your attention to detail and ability to follow instructions.
In otherwards, they want to know if you are meticulous and loyal. Both character traits are vital for optimal cooperation in an organization, and also essential for its success.
It’s important to note that not all of these signs necessarily mean that your boss is testing you. But if you’re noticing several of them at the same time, then there’s a good possibility that your boss is testing you.
If you think your boss is testing you, the best thing to do is to stay positive and focused on your work. Work to complete your assignments on time and to a high standard. Be proactive and ask for help if you need it, and don’t be afraid to show your boss that you’re capable of taking on more responsibility.
If you’re not sure whether or not your boss is testing you, it’s always a good idea to ask them directly. They may be able to give you some insight into what they’re looking for and how you can improve your performance.