Butting heads with your boss can not only make the workplace unbearable but it could have a negative effect on your career. How willing will your boss be to give you high-profile assignments or even promote you if you two are always at odds? So it’s best to find ways to repair your relationship.
“The best way to identify how easily you can repair your relationship with your boss is to determine how receptive they are to feedback in general,” advises Lynda Zugec, managing director of the Workforce Consultants. “Individuals who are receptive to feedback will be better able to listen to concerns and work them out. Does your boss take responsibility for his or her mistakes? Is your boss open to listening to different or new ways of doing things? Sometimes individuals who are very defensive upon being given feedback may seem to be receptive to repairing relationships, but the underlying issue(s) will likely go unresolved. Think about how receptive and open to feedback your boss is to gauge whether the relationship is worth saving.”
Remember, while there are some changes you can make, some things are out of your hands. “Since you cannot change how other people react and respond to you – you will need to be willing to make the change. If you are not willing to put in the effort, then the relationship will not change,” notes business and efficiency coach Laura Lee Rose of Rose Coaching.
But sometimes a relationship is irreparable. In that case, it’s time to take a hard look at your career choices. Do you want to leave your job or look for a new spot within the firm?
If you want to remain within the company, think about other positions not under your same boss. “The best way to change positions within the company is to start business networking with others in the department or area that you want to move into,” says Rose. “Start marketing your expertise in their area by volunteering your services, sending helpful articles that point to solutions or new techniques, present Brown Bag Lunch talks on topics of interest, ask to be mentored/coached by others in the other departments, take others to lunch to find out about other opportunities in their area or schedule an appointment with your HR representative for additional ideas.”
Tips On Building A Better Relationship With Your Boss
• Take Responsibility: Take responsibility for any part you have played in making the relationship turn sour—then try and fix it. “Acknowledge your part in the broken relationship. Make improvements in your performance, stay positive; don’t place him/her in difficult situations; bring solutions to problems; be open to feedback; don’t take things personally, do what you say you would and keep him/her in the loop when you cannot accomplish; stay calm and professional (no drama),” says Rose.
• Talk About The Problem: Get your feelings out in the open in a business meeting with your boss. Talk openly and calmly about what you feel is the problem. Ask her for her thoughts. “You can have a heart-to-heart and open conversation about how you feel and how things may be better if you could get past certain issues,” notes Zugec. Global business, leadership and strategy consultant Kathleen Brush adds, “At the meeting, express a desire to have a better working relationship. In a week or two, ask the boss for a report card on the working relationship.”
• Look For The Positives: If you are always looking for the bad in a person, you will continue to focus on the negatives. “Don’t complain about your boss but rather compensate for him/her. Buffer his/her weaknesses and focus on and work with their strengths,” says certified executive coach and human performance expert Brian Braudis.
• Use Forward Thinking: Bosses like employees that have their best interests at heart and someone who understands what they need and how they work. “Anticipate what your boss may need or do and take the initiative to make him/her look good,” says Braudis. Adds Rose, “Understand your boss’ point of view: go the extra mile; anticipate his/her needs; protect his/her time; understand his/her communication preferences.”
• Look For Common Ground: Since you two are in the same industry, there will be things that you have in common. Tap into this. “Keep your focus on your shared/common goals and interests. Include some personal interchange. Get to know them a little and give your boss the benefit of the doubt,” suggests Rose.
• Have Patience: Relationships cannot be repaired overnight. Be willing to work on it over time. “Accept that it may take time for the relationship to be repaired. This largely depends on how badly the relationship was perceived to be damaged,” explains Zugec.
• The Power’s In Your Hands: This is ultimately about your career, so always stay true to yourself. “Remember your effort and initiative is not about your boss, it’s about the power of you and who you are – no matter the situation,” explains Braudis.