YOUR CAREER If you don’t get along with your boss
What to do if you and your boss don’t see eye-to-eye
NOT getting along with your boss can impact negatively on the organisation as the productivity or performance is dependent on the relationship between the person who delegates the work and the one who executes the mandate. Sometimes people do not have to like each other to work together, what is important is to get along well.
WAYS OF IMPROVING THE RELATIONSHIP
According to Pertunia Nkosi, a supervisor and social worker based in Germiston, Johannesburg, it’s not uncommon for bosses and employees to have different opinions about their relationship.
“A boss who presumes that he or she is highly respected and well-liked may be viewed as controlling and manipulative by their subordinates. Similarly, a worker who thinks the boss loves them may be surprised to learn they are not held in high regard,” she explains.
Pertunia continues by saying sometimes beneath that polite behaviour lies deep rooted feelings of anger, resentment and contempt. Even when these feelings are hidden, the negativity can take a toll on the relationship.
“If you and your boss don’t have a relationship, there are ways to improve the way you relate with one another. Identify the cause for not getting along well. It will help you address the root of the problem,” she says.
“Also, it is important to address the issues that contribute to the tension between you and your boss. Discuss the issue, deal with the differences and work through the problem.”
LEARN TO EXPRESS YOURSELF
Communication between you and your boss can help to iron out issues which will benefit the organisation and defuse the tension in the office.
Instead of labelling your boss, rather label the behaviour that is causing the breakdown in the working relationship, while expressing how the behaviour makes you feel.
“As an employee, you should understand yourself and your boss in terms of your strengths, limitations, needs and behaviour. Use this to develop and maintain a good working relationship.”
“Have mutual respect, trust and understanding. People spend most of their time at work, therefore is it crucial that they learn to be tolerant of one another. Acknowledge your boss’ experience; he
or she may be longing to be listened to as much as you also need to be heard. Remember you cannot change yours or your boss’s personality, but you can learn to accept it.”
ACCEPT YOUR FEELINGS
Pertunia further explains that it’s okay to feel nervous or uncomfortable when someone doesn’t like you, but those feelings won’t kill you.
In fact, the more you practice tolerating those uncomfortable feelings, the less distressed you’ll feel, especially in your workplace, and the more mental strength you’ll develop.
“The desire to be liked often stems from a variety of exaggerated negative thoughts. For example, if you think your boss doesn’t like you, the thought of being successful will only increase your anxiety. Learn to take note of your self-talk, especially at those times your inner voice becomes downright self-destructive,” says Pertunia.
PRACTICE BEHAVING GENUINELY
Pertunia explains that you can still treat others with kindness and respect without going overboard.
Showering your boss with insincere compliments or false accolades could do more harm than good.
“Conducting yourself professionally may change your boss’s perception of you,” says Pertunia. “Cooperate, work diligently, be reliable, communicate openly and effectively and use time and resources effectively. Learn to take feedback from your boss positively and use it to enhance your development.”
She says both you and your boss have to work on the working relationship and make it work.
Pertunia explains, “It is imperative that both parties realise the benefits of a good working relationship and work towards achieving that.”
“A boss should be concerned about the wellbeing of his or her subordinate, allow them to voice out their opinions, encourage open and effective communication and build good working relationships.”
Pertunia says even when you are employed, try to avoid discussing the issue between you and your boss with colleagues or the next manager because that may make it worse than it already is.
“Do not badmouth your boss to colleagues; keep your respect for your boss regardless of his or her actions towards you. If you are the one who is wrong, apologise, it makes you the bigger person,” she advises.
KEEP YOUR RESPECT FOR YOUR BOSS REGARDLESS OF THEIR ACTIONS