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10 Signs Your Boss Is Testing You and How to Deal With Them

Andrew Langat
February 7, 2023
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Our chief want in life is somebody who will make us do what we can- Ralph Waldo Emerson

In many work environments, as part of their influence in leadership, it is common for bosses to test their team to see how they handle pressure, cope with additional responsibilities, work ethics, or even response to constructive criticism.

This can be done to an individual or a group.

This is not bad and should not raise any alarm unless it is illegal.

How one responds to this test can lead to new responsibilities, such as being assigned an important project or making the boost start ignoring you and focusing on other team members.

Identifying when your boss is testing can help you react effectively and avoid being in tricky situations.

This article will detail clear signs your boss is testing you and how to cope.

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10 Signs That Your Boss Is Testing You.

Knowing what signs to look out for can help you react appropriately. These are some potential signs your Boss is testing you:

1. Unusual requests.

Your Boss may require you to perform new tasks not part of your official job description. This might take you aback. For example, being told to assist in solving conflict among your co-worker, and yet you know this does not fall within your job description.

Why such unusual requests?

Bosses might use this to test your adaptability and versatility. For example, the boss might want to know about your dealing with co-workers and respect for other employees.

It's also an excellent opportunity to learn more about the business that can positively impact your career growth in the organization.

Successfully accomplishing such requests shows your willingness to explore new parts of your profession and showcase your managerial potential by demonstrating enthusiasm when a manager presents you with unusual job duties and asks relevant questions about them.

2. Longer work hours.

Your Boss may ask you to work more weekly hours than you should. It may be a sign that they're considering you for a promotion. This can be challenging, potentially causing you to change the balance between your professional and personal life.

Working on tasks vital to the organization's success may make it necessary that you spend more hours working than your colleagues. Maintaining a higher quality of work while working more hours may indicate to your Boss that you're ready for a promotion.

Bosses may test their employees by having them work until the final minute of their shift or by extending their changes.

Your employer can learn much about you through this test, as committed employees are more likely to maintain enthusiasm outside their typical working hours.

Employees with less desire to impress their managers might protest about working longer. Extending working hours can also test your stamina, revealing whether you can perform for a prolonged time.

3. Micromanagement from your Boss.

Although micromanagement goes against the fundamentals of leadership, your Boss can start paying unusual attention to you, evaluating your actions, and working closely with you. This might be uncomfortable.

Micromanaging can pose new challenges to your performance, making you feel like you have less freedom and are less capable.

Some bosses do it as a habit, but some do it to test your capabilities and to evaluate performance, especially if you are new to the job. You can prove your competence by performing despite the increased supervision.

4. Receiving easier tasks.

Your Boss may give you tasks that require low expertise or less effort. It may signify that they relieved you from more complex tasks. This may be due to how you've you've completed challenging tasks.

You can regain their trust by performing those more manageable tasks to the best of your ability and being consistent in your work. Doing so over time will likely convince them that you've improved your skills and are ready to receive more complex and important tasks.

5. Increased workload.

This is one of the common signs that your Boss is testing you, as they may want to see how much work you can handle, your maximum output, and how well you deal with stress.

If it happens, remain calm, complete the work as best as possible, and maintain accuracy. Try to complete as much work as possible, but once you reach your limits, mention this to your Boss, as they likely want to understand your work threshold so they can get as much value from you as possible without causing undue stress.

6. Ignoring your messages.

Sometimes you may get tough assignments, and when trying to complete them, you encounter some challenges. Therefore, you will be obliged to ask for help from your superiors. When you ask for help, they may ignore your request.

This can be painful and may indicate that they are testing you.

Once you note this, do everything to complete the task. This may be a ploy by the bosses to see whether you can resolve an issue without help.

7. Bribery.

Another sign your Boss is testing you is through bribery. Your Boss may ask you to do them a favor, and they offer you a reward in return. This could signal that your Boss is testing your moral compass and Integrity.

This might also be because your boss wants to know if you know about Leadership behaviors and their role in a work environment.

Your employer will respect you more if you prove good character, have solid principles and understand right from wrong.

8. More responsibility to junior colleagues.

Suppose inferior, demoted, or junior colleagues are suddenly allowed to take more responsibility than you during the work process.

In that case, this can signify that you've lost your employer's trust for some specific reason.

Think about what you could have done to make them unsure about your skills and try to remedy the situation. Your Boss could also be testing your ability to prove them wrong.

9. Being assigned to a team without a leader.

Your Boss may assign you to a team without a leader, and it may suggest that they have seen Leadership and management potential in you. It may also mean they are assessing other team members to see who makes an effective leader.

In such a situation, it will be helpful to jell in with your team members rather than compete with them.

10. Change in deadlines.

A sudden shift in deadline can also test your ability to handle pressure. It can also try various other things, such as your multitasking skills, time-management skills, and how much extra time and effort you're willing to put in to meet deadlines and help a business meet its goals.

In this regard, your Boss is most likely to rely on employees who are most capable in high-stakes situations, and they're the ones who are likely to garner the rewards.

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Why do Managers Test their employees?

Usually, managers test their employees for various reasons, such as if they can handle the stress of a manager.

This is because employers place a lot of trust in their staff and give them responsibilities that directly impact their businesses.

Testing helps managers understand how well individuals handle specific tasks and enables them to delegate responsibilities in a way that gets the most value from staff and makes them feel comfortable. They can use the outcome to allocate duties to the most likely to do a great job. They can also use tests to determine how much supervision employees need or to prepare an employee for a new set of responsibilities.

Testing the employees also helps the managers allocate more or extra responsibilities to capable individuals they can rely on.

There are some common reasons why your Boss tests you, and they may include the following;

1. Consideration for promotion.

Your Boss tests you to see if you're ready to take on more responsibilities. Job promotion means you take up challenging assignments, and your Boss needs to know whether you can be reliable to do what is necessary.

2. Empowering autonomy.

Your manager is considering giving you more independence at work. Your Boss may be testing your decision-making independence, allowing room for personal development. This will enable them to assess your suitability for a job role.

3. Work evaluation.

Your Boss is testing you concerning your commitment to the job. Bosses will push you to see how much effort you're putting in and if you are working hard to complete the tasks given.

4. Trust test.

Your employer is somewhat distrusting you in one way or another. Some bosses will give you unusual requests to see whether they can trust you to complete the task and assess who they can rely on.

5. Work performance checks.

Your special tests you due to job performance issues. Your Boss can test your eligibility for a job by evaluating your performance. Every job description has a level of expectation when it comes to performance. Once you succeed at complex tasks, negotiating for things like promotion and salary will not be a problem.

6. Job termination.

You're being tested with your Boss's intention to get you fired.

Whatever the idea behind your Boss's decision to test you, being aware of it by identifying the signs can only make you stronger and better equipped to deal with the situation.

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What Can you do when your Boss is testing you?

It can be hard sometimes to know what to do when your Boss is testing you. You may be uneasy and unsure how to react.

Here are some tips you can use to navigate such situations;

1. Try to Communicate with your Boss.

If your Boss is being mean to you and their testing efforts are entirely uncalled for, you must communicate with them respectfully.

Ask about their reasons for such behavior and how you may regain their trust and respect.

2. Have some intuition and use your common sense.

You need to assess the situation and know whether your Boss is testing you or testing your loyalty and work ethic.

Please don't fall into their trap but use your common sense when responding to their unusual requests. Resort to your intuitive decision-making skills, as well.

3. Have Integrity.

Show your Integrity so that you make them never doubt your good character.

If your Boss is testing your decency, honesty, and moral compass, meet their high expectations by example.

4. Work hard and prove your expertise.

Testing your skills and job-related know-how can lead to career growth and personal development.

So, don't be afraid to get into your stride and push your limits. Only the brave and adventurous come out as winners.

5. Be calm and collected.

Your Boss can ignore you at work or give you different projects to complete, making you feel stressed out.

Try to stay composed and not show your emotions. Your employer is only testing you; getting angry will only result in failing the test.

Inspiring, isn’t it ? Want to learn more about connecting self-awareness to professional development? Get in touch today.

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How Highrise can Help

Leadership potential is never enough without the right Executive coaching for leadership development plans. This helps refine the "rough edges" that optimize one successfully meeting the demands of the modern workplace, including identifying signs your boss is testing you and how to respond to each test.

Reach out to us today and start the journey of being one of the top performers in your niche.

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Andrew Langat
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Andrew Langat is an experienced content specialist in Leadership, Productivity, Education, Fintech, and Research. He is an avid reader and loves swimming as a hobby. He believes that quality content should be actionable and helpful.