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How to deal with a boss who don’t like you?

Photo by Evgeniy Grozev on Pexels.com

The odds of at some point in your career of having boss who you just can’t seem to impress, or who tends to rub the wrong way are pretty high. Bosses who don’t seem to trust you or to like working with you. And even a track record of stellar performance on the job doesn’t seem to help. The boss simply sees you as a misfit.

So, better learn on how to deal with the situation.

First, you need to act early to correct this negative perception, it is almost impossible to make a comeback. Once you’re pigeonholed as a problem or a poor fit for the team, it will be hard for your boss to see the good work you do. Your shortcomings will consume their attention. This could end in your career plateauing or even your termination.


Look for warning signs

If they start to lose trust in you, they’ll tend to be prescriptive in their instruction/guidance.

example… They might say

“Make sure you do x, y, and z as you are completing this project.”

“I want you to arrive five minutes early to every meeting from now on.”

Or if the issue is much more serious. You’ll noticed that they’ll start jumping in while you are presenting—a very bad sign. You will no longer be invited you to certain meetings you used to attend.

If this is the case, try to make amend or seek on how to improve the relationship. It is your career on the line. If possible, try ask for a move to other department, it will bring you new knowledge and experience and increase your worth in the job marketplace.


Act Quickly

Just as mentioned before, you do need to act quickly since you might still be in the “forgiveness zone”, which means you can still regain their trust through quick corrective actions.

Hence, ask and be prepared for honest brutal feedback. And I meant brutal!

Ask them whether there was something you did recently that triggered their feedback. Have them explain what they would have done differently in that situation. Listen carefully. They are describing their expectations about the right approach to how they want things done or the real priority they want you to focus on. Adapt your workflow to meet their expectations, and make sure to demonstrate, in ways that are highly visible to them, your new behaviors or your heightened emphasis on their priorities.

This may seem unwarranted to you. But it’s important to remember that if you want to succeed in your job, it will always be your responsibility to adapt to your boss.

I used to ignore this, but it gave me a very unpleasant experience. Hence, I implore you NOT TO DO THE SAME.



Understand your boss’s priorities

When working with a new boss, one of your priorities should be to understand their buttons.

Ideally, you should ask them directly:
What are your absolute priorities for your performance and mine? What criteria should I always take into account in my decisions?

When it comes to style, you should ask:
How would you prefer I work with you?
What do I need to avoid doing that would really bother you?

Find out how they’d prefer to work with you, such as how often you two should meet, whether they prefer formal or informal meetings, if you should be reachable at all times by email and cell, and how they will measure your performance.

This remind me, I really need to learn how to read body language. Need to add that to my to read list.


Watch your boss’s nonverbal cues

Body does lie as much as our words does.

My face is truly a terrible liar, it got me into a lot of troubles.

I believe this is the same to everyone.


So in addition to asking directly, watch their actions in meetings. Observe what annoys them. Observe what they praise. See which individuals engage them well, and ask yourself what it is about them that the boss finds so engaging. Look at the boss’s style of running meetings and the level of candor and pushback between the boss and the meeting participants. We need to remember, everyone is unique.

Look at their office – what does it tell you about their lives, their needs for organization, the demands on them, and their preference for scheduling versus spontaneous interactions. If you can, seek out former direct reports to learn their perceptions of your boss. And if the boss has an administrative assistant, ask that person what really irritates the boss – they’ll often know better than anyone.

You should wait to solicit feedback on your behavior until you’ve worked with your boss for a little bit. I usually done so immediately at the end of a meeting where I played a major role.

Ask my boss directly, “What did I do well in there, and what can I improve upon next time?”

The most developmentally focused bosses will usually give you concrete guidance about what they want to see from you. Ineffective bosses may not. With them, you’ll have to pay far greater attention to their nonverbal behavior for that feedback.

Pay more intention where you’re boss start with… “I personally wouldn’t do it that way myself.” . Ask them, how would they deal with it.

One quality that distinguishes individuals with successful careers is an attitude that there isn’t a boss you can’t win over – you just have to understand why they act the way they do. Remember that all bosses want to be successful in their own right. Your mission is to figure out how to help them succeed and adapt thoughtfully. Your success and that of your boss are more often than not, inter-dependence.


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