by Kristen Duever, Career Researcher and Writer
Getting along with your manager is one of the keys to job satisfaction, career advancement and general feelings of well-being. But what if your boss has a completely different personality and you just don’t click?
There may be more to it.
Maybe you feel frustrated because it seems like your boss is always undermining your decisions. It feels like nothing you do is good enough.
When Sunday evening rolls around, do you get a feeling of dread in the pit of your stomach when you think about going back to work?
Sometimes minor annoyances can fester and lead to major issues that can derail your career. It’s important to take control, but what do you do?
This is your manager we’re talking about – one wrong move and you could be fired.
The good news is, you can stop the cycle and start getting along with your boss.
Now just to be clear, there are some bosses who are truly abusive – and we are not talking about them here. Rather, we are talking about those bosses that micromanage or who don’t give you the attention you need. Or the bosses whose communication styles differ from yours.
Remember that your boss is human too. They are likely dealing with stressors of their own and there are things you can do to improve the situation for both of you!
Four secrets to having a better relationship with your boss:
1. Recognize how your manager’s personality differs from yours.
If you find yourself regularly annoyed with your boss, you can quickly develop feelings of stress.
The first step to dealing with this stress is to recognize its source. Ask yourself why you are not getting along with your boss? It may help to look around the organization and see which employees your manager does get along with.
Chances are, they get along with employees who are more similar to them. How do the interactions of that employee differ from yours? Observe and learn from others. There's often good reasons for what you see working around you.
2. Learn to communicate in your manager’s personality style.
Take some time to consider your own personality style and how you approach problems. Then try to think objectively about how your style differs from that of your manager.
Sitting down with a qualified coach can help you gain deeper understanding.
Learn to be flexible in how you communicate. For example, if your boss is the analytical type, use words like principles, analysis and rationale. If your boss is more emotional in nature, use words such as harmony, sensitivity and intensity.
Adapting your communication style to your manager doesn’t mean changing who are – it simply means devising a strategy for effective communication or being sensitive to the preferences of your manager.
3. Recognize your boss’s management style – and adapt.
Some managers like to have a high degree of control. They want to know every detail of what is happening in a particular project. If you like to be independent, this can leave you feeling like your boss doesn’t trust you. Deal with this situation by providing them with regular updates and it will help to ward off micromanaging.
On the other hand, if you are more of a collaborative worker and your boss has a hands-off approach, you may feel like your manager isn’t interested or that your work doesn’t matter. If this is the case, make a list of the items you’d like to get feedback on and schedule a meeting with your manager rather than interrupting when they might be in the middle of something else.
Adapting to your manager’s style will help make life at work easier for both of you. In other words, “manage up”. Try to understand your manager and then help them be successful. This will help you to be successful too.
4. Remember that it’s not forever!
Finally remember that in today’s everchanging workplace, the manager you have today may not be the manager you have next year or even next week.
So before you walk away from what is really a good job or allow yourself to become overwhelmed, take a step back and try to get to the heart of the issue.
If you do this, chances are you will be able to get along with any manager – even if their personality differs from yours.
Using any of these strategies will require you to look within. Having a difficult manager is rarely fun, but it is in difficult situations that we have the opportunity to learn and grow. Begin to see the challenge as a gift and it may open up new doors for you in your career.
Better yet, sit down with a qualified career coach who can help you through these steps in an objective and caring way and delve even deeper into the heart of the issue.
Who knows? Someday you might just see your relationship with your current manager as one of the most important in your career!