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‘I just … can’t … stand him!’

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in Admins,Centerpiece,Dealing with Bosses,Office Management

Difficult bossWhen your relationship with your boss is bad, you do have some power to make the situation better, Manfred F.R. Kets de Vries writes in Harvard Business Review.

Show some empathy. Try to remember that your boss could be under stress you don’t know about that might be affecting his actions. Use informal moments to talk to your boss about his job. Showing that you empathize with the pressures he’s under might cause him to show empathy toward you.

Check your own behavior. Many times people who don’t work well with their bosses are actually part of the problem. Think about areas you need to improve, what behaviors you exhibit that might irritate your boss and why your personalities might be clashing. Ask co-workers who work well with the boss for feedback on the conflict you’re experiencing.

Have a direct conversation about your conflict. If you’re certain it’s not your fault the relationship is failing, ask your boss to talk about your clashes in a private, safe setting. Use examples of projects or areas that have been hurt by friction between the two of you.

Talk to HR about the problem. If communication and changing your behavior hasn’t helped, and many of your colleagues have the same problem, you can bring your case to HR as a group. Be prepared to show how your boss is hurting the company’s performance.

Wait it out or move on. If nothing is fixing the problem, you can wait for your boss to leave or you can leave. But remember that sticking it out too long can make you bitter and disengaged at work. Quietly begin your job search so you can leave the company on your own terms.

— Adapted from “Do You Hate Your Boss?” Manfred F.R. Kets de Vries, Harvard Business Review.

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