• Linda R. Taliaferro

My Boss Doesn’t Like Me. Now What?

You can smile all you want.

Laugh all you want.

Speak kind words all day long.

Even go out of your way to give your support.

Sometimes, it doesn’t matter what you do. Some people just won’t like you.

That’s life, right?

But What If It’s Your Boss?

Yes. What if the person you report to, does your performance review, and controls your destiny in the organization shows signs that you aren’t their favorite person in the world?

Of course, you don’t have to be best friends with everybody in the office, but it can be challenging to navigate when you feel uneasy every time you interact with them.

This work environment is one I have come across more than once in my career. And if you are going through it now, I empathize with you. That is not a healthy environment.

But how do you handle the dynamic of coming to work and giving your best, knowing you have to answer to someone who may not value all you contribute just because they aren’t fond of you?

It Starts With You

Before I get to five ways to deal with a boss who doesn’t like you, I need you to do something.

Change your perception.

You can’t begin these five steps until you are open to considering two things:

  1. Maybe you are reading the situation wrong

  2. Maybe you played a more significant role in the relationship than you think (we’ll get to this in a moment)

These two points are essential because if you aren’t able to evaluate your situation with an open mind, you may miss out on a valuable opportunity to grow personally and professionally.

5 Ways To Deal With A Boss Who Doesn’t Like You

Get Introspective

Before you do anything else, you have to self-evaluate. But if you can’t be real with yourself, talk to a trusted coworker or even a mentor.

What’s most important is that you talk with someone who will be honest with you.

It’s easy to be blind to situations you created, so an honest, deep dive can help you gain more clarity about your role in the work relationship. So do this first.

Talk To Your Boss

This may sound obvious, but it’s easier to imagine scenarios in your head and complain to others than sit down with the source.

Talking with your boss is a chance to be bold and take control of the situation so that you can find peace while at work.

At this sit-down is where you will ask for intentional feedback so they can validate or invalidate your concerns. Not only will this give you the chance to bring up your issues, but you will also force them to decide to be honest about their feelings. If you both come to an understanding, even if you don’t become best friends, it can take a heavy load off because now you know where you stand. And if not–well, you’ll see in number 5.

Don’t Take It Personal Unless It’s Personal

In these situations, you will often discover that it’s not you. Just as you have a history in the corporate world, so does your boss.

Negative past experiences may have impacted how they view people in your position. So whether it’s you or someone else, they may have developed a lack of trust.

Being introspective again, is there something you lack in completing your work responsibilities? Are you meeting deadlines? Have you expressed your professional goals so your supervisor can understand what motivates you?

When you take this perspective, you learn to draw a line in the sand between personal and professional.

Use Your In-Office Network

This step is beneficial and transformational. If the first three steps don’t help the situation and you have peeled back the layers to see that it’s not you who is the problem, do this.

Tap into your network of coworkers, other supervisors, and even those above your boss’s level. They will vouch for your character and support you, especially when you aren’t in the room to defend yourself.

Your network is so important, so if you haven’t put the time and effort into building relationships, now is the time.

Move On

I started this conversation by stating that not everyone will like you. Your boss included. And that’s okay. The work can still get done without a mutual like for each other.

The real issue is respect.

After completing these four steps and concluding that you are not getting the respect you deserve and there is nothing else you can do, it might be time to move on.

Move on to a company with a culture of respect that allows you to be comfortably you.

Own Your Career

You may not be able to control what your boss does, but you absolutely can control what you do.

This is your career. Your life. You and you alone are responsible.

If you allow what you can’t control to steal your focus, you won’t be able to shift your career trajectory. And isn’t that the ultimate goal?

Don’t let a boss or coworker who doesn’t respect you steal your energy and focus.

If you want to dive deeper into how you can best navigate your workplace relationships, book a 1-on-1 call with me today. Get the respect you deserve.

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