Tuesday, 27 February 2024 04:40

So you truly dislike your boss. Here are the smartest ways to cope

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The relationship between employees and their bosses can truly make or break the work experience. 

Issues such as job satisfaction, productivity, mental health and teamwork can be almost completely dependent on this dynamic.

So, what happens if you truly don’t get along with your boss and you’re beyond unhappy at your job? 

Two experts weighed in on the issue with insights for handling a rocky work relationship with a manager.

Consider if it’s your boss or the company

Understand that there's a difference between disliking your boss and disliking the company.  

"Make that distinction," said Jonathan Alpert, a psychotherapist and executive performance coach who works with clients in Manhattan and Washington, D.C. 

Also, ask yourself: Do you truly dislike your boss — or might it just be his or her style that doesn't quite match yours? 

Plenty of bosses, said Alpert, are competent and know what they're doing and lead a company well — but their managerial style or manner may come across as negative in some way. 

Or, they might be hands-off — or, in the opposite direction, a micromanager — and these styles might be incompatible with your own personal preference. 

"Work through this by shifting your thinking to what you like about the company and your job independent of this boss. Perhaps you like the work, your colleagues and your career advancement potential," said Alpert. 

What are some short-term solutions if you hate your boss?

If the root of your discontent is truly due to a dislike of your boss, then some actions can be taken.

While it’s very rare that someone adores their boss, most employees find a way to co-exist with their higher-ups at work, suggest experts. 

If that’s not the case, here’s how to manage your emotions and your expectations in the short term. 

Focus on your work

You’re there to earn a paycheck — so act the part and do your best to isolate your feelings. 

"It’s OK when working through feelings of frustration and hurt to react in a way that pins the problem on the personal failings of the other person, but keep things professional and positive during work hours," said Anita Grantham, an employment expert and head of HR at BambooHR in Lindon, Utah. 

"The only thing you can truly control in any situation is how you respond."

To that point, Grantham suggested you channel your frustrated energy into doing your part well, and try to block out what negativity you can. 

"Look at what the most important things are to you in your stage of life, and see if your current role and company provide positives that outweigh the manager — or not," she added.

Document the situation

If things have progressed to a point where emotions are running high, it might be time to take a step back and start documenting what's going on, advised Grantham.  

Ask yourself these questions: Do you have clear evidence of mistreatment that can be documented? Or is it less serious than that? 

"It’s important to have documentation if things need to escalate, too," she said.

Have a conversation

Once you have everything mapped out on paper, filter out your emotions or assumptions — then highlight specific job-related issues you can discuss with your boss, she recommended. 

"Too many problems are created or perpetuated by shying away from tough conversations," Grantham told FOX Business. 

"Express your concerns calmly about what you feel could be going better and ask for input on how you can contribute to solutions."

What ‌if short-term tactics don’t work? 

If there's an ongoing problem that a direct conversation hasn’t fixed, and you have thoroughly documented the behavior, Grantham said the next step might be to look for support from HR and maybe even file a complaint. 

Be aware that your boss likely will be notified — so be ready for that variable. 

What if others hate the boss? What can be done? 

A united front in this case usually looks like insubordination, Grantham stressed. 

"Gossip and complaining during work hours or via work equipment is always a bad idea, because it’s impossible to justify," she said. 

"If others are also struggling, exchange phone numbers for moral support, looking for ways to stay positive. But remember, the last thing you want to do is make a bad situation worse by creating a negative echo chamber." 

Also, remember it’s a small world, and you should continue to do your current job with excellence. 

"The world is too small to leave your current role with a poor reference," Grantham told FOX Business. "Focus on building bridges, not burning them."

When is it time for an exit strategy? 

Ultimately, if things don’t improve and the situation is disturbing enough to affect mood, your performance and life outside of work, it might be time to look at new job opportunities, said leadership expert Alpert. 

However, badmouthing your boss isn’t going to score any points with potential hiring managers — so keep the focus on your skillset and your attributes. 

"Hiring managers want to hear why you are excited about their company and what you bring to the table in the role they are hiring for," Grantham with BambooHR explained. 

"Focus as much as you can on the pull factors; you are looking for career growth, positive work culture and mentorship from a great boss."

In addition, she said that saying anything about running from a bad situation makes it look like you don’t care where you land — you're just looking to get out. 

"It doesn’t make you an appealing candidate and could leave a hiring manager wondering what role you played in the problem," Grantham added.


Fox Business

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