Treat the Boss You Hate as Human

My first supervisor was the worst boss I have ever encountered. She insisted in being called “Miss Mills”, gave crushing critiques, withheld positive feedback, kept her distance and shut me out with silence. I never figured out how to get her to accept my work and jumped ship as soon as another offer came my way.

Had that position been important enough to me, I would have struggled to gain her approval or to find out how to do a better job. Instead, I labelled her the poisoned dwarf and left.

I had done the exact opposite to what researchers found does work when dealing with a boss that you dislike. In their article Do You Hate Your Boss?  Harvard Business Review, December 2016, the authors suggest two positive strategies:

  1. Empathy
  2. Look at yourself

I was unkind and unwilling to see that my behavior had anything to do with why the relationship with my supervisor had failed. I had no empathy and saw myself as a victim, hence blameless in contributing to the tension between us.

1. Hard as it might be, if you find yourself judging your boss, first start with trying to put yourself in his or her shoes. What pressure is she or he experiencing regarding the success of the business? What support and resources are available to him or her? Have you asked him or her the simple question: what is important to you?

2. What are you doing to contribute to the bad relationship?

Are you doing your part to support her or his endeavors? I have to admit, that in my youth, I felt invincible and thought that I was doing a really great job and didn’t need any help from my supervisor. As soon as she announced that I was to address her by her title, my attitude became even haughtier than hers. I certainly would not have admitted it then, but I actively contributed to making things worse.

If you are experiencing difficulty getting along with your boss, examine your level of empathy for your boss and what you are contributing to the bad situation. Then see what you can do to change those two things.

Contact me right away to explore how you can make things better and not suffer a day longer under a boss you hate!

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