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How to Get Along With a Dreadful Boss

Lindsay Olson

If you constantly find yourself at odds with your supervisor, pause just a moment before you start looking for another job. It's not an ideal situation to butt heads with your boss constantly, but there are professional ways to handle the situation.

Pinpoint the problem. Determine what the issue is with your boss. Is it that he is a micromanager and constantly stands over your shoulder to ensure you're doing things correctly? Or does he embarrass you in front of your colleagues? Do you simply think he's unqualified, and that you could do his job in your sleep?

Knowing what bugs you about your boss can help you move toward figuring out a solution.

Consider the solutions. It would be great to change your boss, but as we learn, we very rarely can change other people. Consider instead what you might be able to do to make your work environment better. If you're working for a micromanager, you may be able to adjust your attitude. Every manager has his own management style, and your boss may have one that rubs you the wrong way. But if you embrace it and try to understand it, you may get along better.

For example, if he's micromanaging, maybe it's because he's a perfectionist and wants his team to deliver quality work. Or he's bored and has nothing better to do. If nobody has discussed your performance with you directly, it's likely not a reflection of your work.

Talk to your boss. Your boss may or may not realize there is friction between you two. Once you've realized what's really bothering you, set up a meeting to discuss it. Find diplomatic ways to air your grievances, and keep emotions out of it. That way, you'll find that you have a productive discussion about your stresses.

Your boss may not realize he's taking his own frustrations out on you. If you can simply say, "Sometimes you say things about my performance that make me feel like I'm not living up to your expectations. I often feel confused by your comments," then he may realize his errors and make appropriate adjustments.

Work out a solution together. Let him know what you're doing to amend things from your side. The goal for you both should be to have a long professional relationship, so it benefits you both to take steps to change a negative situation into a positive one.

And if that doesn't work ... If you feel your issue is larger than can easily be solved by a conversation with your boss, talk to your company's human resources manager or to your boss's boss. This should only happen if you can't resolve the situation in any other way, or if he is breaking company policy with his behavior. Finding someone to serve as arbitrator may help clear the air.

If you're still uncomfortable working for this person, it may be time to look into any other open positions at the company, or start looking for another job. Make sure you've exhausted every avenue before starting a job hunt, because it's certainly easier to resolve a sticky situation than to jump every time you're confronted with people troubles on the job.

If you have a history of having issues with your bosses, look for any behavior you possess yourself that may be making it hard for you to get along with other people. If the problem is internal,you may need to adjust a few things to have a better work environment, wherever you work.

Lindsay Olson is a founding partner and public relations recruiter with Paradigm Staffing and Hoojobs.com, a niche job board for public relations, communications, and social media jobs. She blogs at LindsayOlson.com, where she discusses recruiting and job search issues.

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