Ask Emma: I need a better working relationship with my boss

Unhappy Employee struggles to get along with supervisor; Emma recommends taking a step back

Keeping+a+level+head+is+very+important.+Even+if+you+and+your+employer+have+conflicting+personalities.

ALANA LACKNER

Keeping a level head is very important. Even if you and your employer have conflicting personalities.

EMMA LEDBETTER, Evergreen advice columnist

Dear Emma,

I don’t get along with my boss. It makes doing my job really difficult. I try to be professional around them, but it is really hard sometimes. I feel like I am constantly walking on eggshells. 

Do you have any suggestions on how to smooth over this contentious relationship? It would certainly make my work life easier.

Thanks,

Unhappy Employee


Dear Unhappy Employee,

That sounds like a really difficult situation, and I’m sorry you’re dealing with that. A healthy work relationship with your boss is crucial to your success at work.

First of all, I recommend trying to figure out exactly why you do not like your boss. Does it have something to do with a decision they made that affected you adversely? Or perhaps it is as simple as clashing personalities?

Take a little time to introspect and determine why this is such a contentious relationship for you. Once you have a specific idea of why you don’t get along, you can tackle the problem head-on.

I will say right off the bat, most problems can be solved by talking to the person directly. If one of your boss’s decisions really had a negative effect on you or your work performance, you should say that. 

Most supervisors are very open to feedback and will happily hear what you have to say because it means the team dynamic will improve. Although, that’s not a license to yell at them about how you’re feeling. Be kind and gentle, and be sure to treat them how you would want to be treated in this situation.

On the other hand, if this has to do with conflicting personalities, it could be harder to deal with. It is rarely a good idea to tell someone you don’t like something about them that they can’t change. 

Instead, take it upon yourself to be patient with this person. You can tell yourself you’re being the bigger person (because you are). They will probably appreciate the grace you give them, even if they don’t consciously realize it. That could end up smoothing out the situation.

My biggest piece of advice is to keep a level head. Yelling at them, giving them the cold shoulder or gossiping about them at the (virtual) water cooler will not solve any problems. Take a step back and consider how you would want to be treated by an employee. 

I hope these suggestions help! 

Emma