You won’t get along with everyone in your workplace, and your bosses are included in that. It happens – personalities don’t always mesh well together, values don’t always align, or, worst of all, workplace disagreements come up. If you find yourself in this situation, don’t put in your two weeks – you can fix this situation.
1. Assess the Problems
Before leaping into action, you need to determine the root of the problem. Think back to things your boss has done that you didn’t like and vice versa, think about disagreements between the two of you or moments where one’s dislike for the other was made obvious. Did the entire situation stem out of one problem, or is it just a clash of incompatible personalities? Is there someone who consistently instigates problems, whether it be your boss or yourself? Think about these things as objectively as possible – you need to assess your own behavior as if you’re outside of yourself, ensuring you get the same treatment as you’d give anyone else.
Once you’ve figured out the core of the problem, identify ways that you can fix it. If you realize the issues are your fault, you need to take responsibility for that and move forward in a positive direction, even apologizing and owning up to mistakes if needed.
If your boss causes the issues, all you can do is be the best employee you possibly can when they’re around, uplift them, and try to make sure they can’t find an issue with you – sure, being the bigger person is hard, but if it’s a mere disagreement between you two, any problems should clear right up. Of course, if your boss is targeting you and creating a toxic work environment, that’s an entirely different circumstance and your best option is to leave the situation.
But if the issue is a mutual one, if your personalities or work styles just don’t jive well together, all you can do is create neutral ground to meet on and build a positive work space for yourself – stop focusing on any issues that come up between you and your boss.
2. Focus on the Positive
No matter what route you end up taking, you need to find the positives in your workplace and you especially need to find positives within your boss. Your time at work will never improve if you continue to dwell on negative interactions and feelings. Plus, by focusing on the positives, your attitude towards your boss can only improve.
Even if your boss’s personality doesn’t mesh with your own, there have to be qualities in them you appreciate: maybe they’re always punctual about finishing projects, always pitching in to help employees learn new things, fantastic at getting sales. Maybe you can tell that they’re more than happy to put aside their differences with you and focus on your positives!
Training your brain to think a certain way isn’t the easiest task, but it’s possible. So, remind yourself of these good qualities whenever you and your boss aren’t getting along, and allow your positivity to help guide you through your relationship. Any bumps in the road won’t be your responsibility anymore, and hopefully, your boss will notice that you’d like to put aside your differences.
3. Forge A Connection
Maybe there’s a way to forget all past differences and get along in the long run. It’ll require some work and some time, but it can be done – after all, you don’t start out friendly with everyone in your workplace, you need to build rapport.
When speaking to your boss, look for similarities instead of differences – things that you can bond over, whether that be something as specific as personal interests or as vague as comments about your job. Try to forget about everything that’s happened in the past and build a bond from the ground up, staying amiable and relating to them wherever you can. You don’t have to end up becoming best friends with your boss, but bonding in even the smallest ways can change the way the two of you look at each other completely. If you do find that connection, hold onto it and remind yourself that the two of you can get past your issues together.
4. Keep Doing Your Best!
Whatever happens, all you can do is keep pushing forward to be the best employee you can. Even if you continue to get into disagreements with your boss, even if your potential solutions don’t work and you remain frustrated with your relationship with them, remind yourself that you aren’t there to be your boss’ friend – you’re there to get your work done.
Just focus on yourself, on your workload, on being a positive force in the workplace and even positive towards your boss. Let any disagreements between the two of you slide and remain civil at all times.
Struggling to get along with your boss won’t make a bad workplace, nor will it make you a bad employee. That’s because it’s entirely up to you to create a positive workplace and be a stellar employee in the midst of it all. So, set aside your differences, show your optimism and make the best out of what you’ve got.
Need more advice on navigating the workplace? Ask Style Nine to Five founder, Christie Lohr, 1 Career Question!
Emily Morrison is a media professional with passions for writing, film and popular culture.
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