Are you constantly trying to fight back the urge to strangle your boss to death?
Even if it’s only in your imagination (or at least I’m praying it is), your desire to rid yourself of the torture of dealing with your boss every day, could make your life a misery. Whether your boss is ignoring you completely or hovering over your shoulder like a hawk to check your work every day, you can finally find relief in knowing that you don’t have to like him/her to work well with them! Sounds almost impossible I know, but trust me it is.
The important thing to remember here, is that you have to get your priorities right, before you can do anything to improve your working relationship with your boss. If you are wasting a lot of energy trying to get your boss to like you (or vice versa), then you’re probably not putting enough time and effort into getting your job done in the best way you can.
Think about it: How do you react when your boss sends you an email? Are you reading too much into the tone of the email? Are you assuming that he/she must be a complete idiot for asking you to repeat yourself to them over and over again? Do you get annoyed by just seeing them walk towards you? Or do you run and hide to avoid any contact with them altogether? What a waste of your valuable time and energy! You have to learn to put your focus, energy, and attention onto what you are producing and who you are producing it for.
So, regardless of how your manager feels about you as a person, you are getting paid to do your job well, and to produce exceptional results for your clients.
The trick to working with a boss you don’t like, is to put all of your attention on your clients, and how what you are doing through your company is going to make their experience with you, a rich and wonderful one.
Putting your attention where it needs to be, will help you reduce stress, and come up with meaningful answers to their rather disrespectful or unfair questions.
Here’s what you need to do: From now on, instead of rolling your eyes or starting a fight with an irritated answer, try to respond by using the word “client” where you would usually use the word”I” or “you”.
Here are some examples: Please note that for all of these, “client” could mean anyone from actual customers to colleagues and managers of other internal departments.
Manager: “I’m sorry, who are you?”
You: “My name is X. I’ve just joined your team. I’ve read up about your current projects and clients, and I’m looking forward to working with you to produce some great results.
Manager: “When will you get your progress report to me?”
You: “Realising how urgently you need this for the client, I will be done in the next hour”.
Manager: “Why didn’t you check with me first?”
You: “The client called and needed and urgent response, so I confirmed with Manager X, who was available at the time.”
Manager: “Do you realise what a mess you’ve made with this?”
You: “I’m sorry, that wasn’t my intention. I was certain that this was what the client wanted. I’m willing to get some feedback from you on how I could avoid this in future?”.
Of course these examples won’t necessarily work for every interaction you have with your manager, but they’ll give you a place to start communicating openly, which is much better than getting into a fight that could ultimately result in you saying something you’ll regret.
Now, I’d like to hear from you. How have you managed to work with a boss you don’t like?
Share your feedback and stories in the comments below.