Career Corner: My boss doesn’t like me!
At some point in time you may have had a slight inkling that your boss doesn’t like you…for some people, the feeling is more than an assumption and there are clear signs to indicate that the feeling is more than just a hunch.
The world of work can be a challenging place to navigate. It can be even more challenging if you do not have a good relationship with your supervisor. Our first inclination is often to avoid an uncomfortable situation and, for some persons, this means that, if their boss dislikes them, they will look for another job- but I do not recommend this, certainly not at the onset. So what next? If your boss doesn’t like you, there are other ways to handle the situation.
Assess the situation… it is important to determine if your boss really does not like you. It is possible that your boss may be going through a stressful period at the moment which affects how he/she interacts with you.
Observe your colleagues… it may be possible that what you are experiencing as dislike is not specific to you, but is how your boss interacts with everybody. However, if you are satisfied that your boss has a better relationship with your other colleagues, it may be wise to observe those interactions and see what your colleagues are doing that you aren’t doing…if possible, within reason, it may suit you to adopt a similar approach and to adjust.
Speak to your boss…if you feel strongly enough about the situation, speak with your boss directly. Express to him/her that you are concerned about the working relationship that you both have. Your boss may be open to discussions with you and may share what has prompted/ triggered the dislike.
Interact with your boss…although it may be tempting to minimize contact with your boss, this may not be the best solution. Your interests may be better served if you make a deliberate attempt to speak with your boss and develop a relationship with him/ her. Interactions should be professional and can include things like discussions about an upcoming project and updates on projects you are currently engaged in. Overtime, these interactions may soothe tensions that exist.
Work hard… often, the apparent dislike your boss has for you is not personal but is connected to your on-the-job performance. Your boss may be of the view that you are not performing at the desired level and this can impact his/her feeling towards you. Do an assessment…are you performing at the required level and meeting all your objectives? If not, a quick fix in this instance is to work harder…display high levels of performance and deliver high quality work. If needed, explore opportunities for training to improve on the skills where gaps have been identified.
Minimize potential triggers…if you are uncomfortable at work, you may be inclined to show up for work late and to leave early…it’s natural to want to avoid a bad situation, but I encourage you to adhere to the company’s rules and avoid creating negative impressions which may create additional tension.
Although your boss may dislike you, what is of utmost importance is your job, and you must ensure that you continue to perform your duties and ensure that your career is not jeopardized. If the work environment becomes unbearable however, it may be time to sever ties and seek employment elsewhere. Ideally, you will work on a team where everyone, including your boss, enjoys a good relationship.
Malaika T. Edwards is a Human Resources consultant and provides advisory services to individuals and business clients. She is also a PhD candidate at the Louisiana State University (LSU) where she specializes in Human Resources and Leadership Development. You can contact her at firstname.lastname@example.org, or on LinkedIn at linkedin.com/in/malaika-edwards