Struggling with your manager at work? Tips to create a more harmonious relationship
We've all had them - you know the kind of managers you wish you didn’t report into? They can be constantly watching over you, or you get a sense they don’t trust your ability, or they exclude you from meetings or projects you should be involved in and you get a sense they would rather you just weren’t there. You don’t seem to get on no matter what.
In work environments, we are often thrown together with colleagues without the choice to decide whether we would spend time with them or not. This can work out really well, or it can be challenge in navigating difficult relationships.
This article is all about working with a manager you don’t get on with.
Potentially one of the most challenging relationships in the work environment, as it can have an impact on your career progression and how other senior stakeholders view you.
Here are some ways to help support you if you are facing such a challenge:
1. Ask yourself honestly, ‘have I contributed or made this relationship worse?'. What could you do today that would help make the relationship with your boss easier?
2. Find someone you can trust and confide in at work - speaking to someone in the work environment can help defuse situations when you are feeling upset. It can help take the edge off of situations.
3. Be aware of your inner-self talk. Often when we are in a challenging situation with a manager or work colleague our inner-self talk can add fire to the furnace and make the situation worse. Be aware of what is going on internally.
Are you having conversations in your head about what you would have said if you had a chance? Are you replaying conversations or hurts?
This can all make us feel angry, helpless and frustrated which can come out in some way at work and at home. When you have unhelpful inner-self talk, take a breath in and bring your thoughts to what you can do and what is going well. Changing the focus helps us feel empowered and less helpless.
4. Have an honest one-to-one chat to your manager. Acknowledge that things feel like they aren’t working as well as they could and that you want to make things work. This does depend on how your manager is, and only you know. But if you approach it from a place of wanting to find a solution, then there could be some simple solutions to make your relationship better.
5. Take time out of your day to get out of the toxic environment. Perhaps this is going for a lunch time walk round the park, or popping out to get a coffee to get a few minutes out of the tense environment - this will help give you a breather and refresh.
6. If the relationship doesn’t seem to be improving and there is no sign of it changing, consider moving to another role.
Drastic as it sounds, your happiness and well-being at work is incredibly important as you can spend so much time in the office. If you are stuck dealing with a toxic relationship there comes a time (which only you will know), where you need to weight up the benefit of staying compared to cutting your losses and finding a role that is less toxic, but perhaps allows you to flourish more.
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