People hating their boss happens more often than is generally publicly discussed, but we all know of at least one instance. Even less discussed, it is just as common to feel your boss hates you, and hence that is why you are being treated poorly or unfairly.
However, this doesn’t have to become a barrier in your journey towards a successful career. It’s not whether your boss hates you, but how you manage this situation, that will make your break you.
Here are some things to consider:
1. They are under pressure from their boss
Sometimes we don’t appreciate what our managers are going through because we haven’t been in their position. Your boss may be under an intense amount of pressure to deliver ridiculous outcomes in a short timeframe.
Suggestion: This is your opportunity to be of assistance and not be seen as someone they have the ‘manage’. Catch up with them one-on-one and ask how you are able to assist them with their workload. Note: don’t take on their entire workload and whatever you do make sure you are not shy in promoting yourself in delivering.
If your boss is under pressure it is also an opportunity to build a rapport with their superiors too. Get an understanding of the big picture with the organisation and show that you one day, can cope with that role yourself. This is business, after all.
2. Are they going through a difficult time personally?
Often people can be irrational and nasty because of something completely unrelated to work. Of course, it isn’t professional to bring your personal problems to work and it won’t help when it comes to being a candidate for an executive role. However, you may find yourself bearing the brunt of someone’s financial troubles or divorce.
Suggestion: Don’t be a listening ear. You don’t want to be perceived by the powers to be as the office gossip or that you spend your time talking about personal issues. If you genuinely care then you can chat with them outside of work hours and of the workplace. Otherwise, it is best to keep your distance as much as possible. When they are on the attack or rampage remember that a soft word can turn away anger. You would be surprised how being gentle in your response can change the situation in an instant.
3. Are they threatened by you?
As a businesswoman you will already know this to be a very common occurrence. Some people see a limit to ‘positions for women’ the higher up you go in the business hierarchy. So some senior figure – both men and women — can feel easily threatened if you are coming up with great ideas, succeeding at your job and are catching the attention of those at the top.
Suggestion: Firstly it isn’t your problem so don’t feel guilty for being so good at what you do. Be polite and respectful although don’t hold back. Make it clear that you are honest and professional. Ensure you build a strong alliance with all the other executives around you and above your immediate superior. Also under no circumstances are you to say a bad word about them to anyone at work. The walls have ears and it will only damage your brand and ruin your chances of a promotion. Anyway, you don’t have time. Success waits for no-one and you are busy!
4. They are just born that way
It is inevitable that people with personality disorders like narcissism or a sociopathic personality make it quite a far way up the corporate hierarchy.
If you have to report to someone who is pathologically manipulative, then you have a limited life in that position – unless you are an expert at hanging onto your sanity and emotional intelligence.
Suggestion: Set a timeframe for your departure, don’t tell anyone and spend your time avoiding conflict with your superior. Keep smiling and agreeing but then deliver on what you know will impress the board of directors and help secure another job.
In the meantime, keep quietly working on your sanity-saving exit plan, and preparing for the door.
Make sure you spend your time building good contacts higher up in the business so you can use them as a confidential reference when you do make the leap into another role.