What to Do When You Don’t Get Along with Your Boss

For better or worse, your boss has enormous influence over you. A boss can make you love or hate your job and either guide or disrupt your career path.

So, what should you do when your boss drives you crazy?

  1. Stop Complaining
    This is easier said than done. After all, keeping a list of all the stupid things your boss did today and sharing it with others is fun. However, research shows, venting not only makes you feel worse it also negatively affects your mental and physical health. And, although your stories are entertaining, they aren’t an answer to your problem. Instead of chairing a complaint session, invest your time and energy more wisely by searching for a solution.
  2. Figure Out the Problem
    Maybe you didn’t get along with your boss from the beginning, or maybe something happened to damage your relationship. In either case, you need to identify what went wrong so you can improve the situation. For example, your supervisor may like to micromanage, while you see frequent check-ins as disruptive and annoying. Perhaps, you could agree upon a system that is better for both of you such as sending a daily or weekly progress report. On the other hand, if you did something to lose your boss’ trust, you need to apologize, take responsibility for your actions and recommit yourself to performing better.
  3. Put Yourself in Your Boss’ Shoes
    It’s easy to forget your boss is human, and a little bit of empathy goes a long way. Try to imagine what issues your manager might face every day. Family problems? Missed deadlines? Tight budgets? An overwhelming workload? Upcoming layoffs? Or even a difficult boss of their own? Instead of looking for reasons to criticize, think about things you could do make your supervisor’s life easier. Your new perspective will help you feel better and build goodwill.
  4. Make a Connection
    Sometimes, simply sharing a personal interest can improve your relationship with your supervisor. After all, now you have something in common. Are you both baseball fans? Do you both like running or yoga? Are you both cat or dog lovers? Do your children attend the same school? Just remember, your connection should be genuine, not forced.
  5. Consider Your Options
    Finally, recognize sometimes a bad boss is truly a bad boss. If you’ve tried different strategies and months have passed with little to no change, you probably need to re-evaluate. You don’t want to stay stuck in a miserable environment. Put in a request to work for a different manager (if you can do so tactfully), ask to change departments or look for a new job altogether. This may be a difficult decision, but your health, your happiness and your career could depend on making a move.  

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