Almost all of us have that one person in our lives that rubs up the wrong way. For some it’s their neighbour, for others it’s a politician and then there are people who, for whatever reason, just can’t stand their manager. Having a manager you get on with is important; 77% of employees who said they were engaged in their workplace described positive interactions with their manager, as opposed to 23% of those disengaged.
Perhaps they micromanage, don’t reward you sufficiently or keep assigning you endless unnecessary tasks that they could do themselves?
Now, what to do about it? Changing jobs seems like a bit of an extreme solution to such a problem but should you just cut your losses and deal with it? Or are there any ways to alleviate this workplace issue from giving you a bad day at work, every day.
Here are some tips:
Accept them for who they are – people just like anyone else
You must have heard the age-old phrase “nobody’s perfect” a million times before. It’s a tried-and-true phrase which applies to everyone, including your manager. And who knows, perhaps he/she is genuinely doing his/her best, despite displaying absolutely terrible managerial skills.
Just consider the other person’s mental state. Maybe this is the only way they can behave, maybe they really can’t do any better (in which case this is something their superior should take into account, by the way).
Strangely enough, if you let go of expectations about how your manager should act and think, your relationship with him/her will improve exponentially, too.
Socialise outside of work
If you have work socials, make it your task to get to know your manager outside of the setting of work. This change of scenery might help to forge a better relationship without the hierarchy the office brings about. This out of work bonding could cause a softening of the atmosphere upon return to the office.
Consider your part to play
Often when there is a conflict between two people, there is a part to play for both parties. Perhaps you are slow to respond to emails or carry out tasks, or slack on tasks that you don’t enjoy. By tackling everyday jobs to the best of your ability and showing your manager you are motivated is bound to come off well. If you have a problem, be honest and open about it. How do you expect your manager to know you’re unhappy unless you tell them outright?
The most stress-relieving, liberating, and arguably most assertive and constructive way to deal with your grudges is to simply go and confront your manager about them. He/she will most certainly appreciate your assertiveness and openness and you’ll know you’ve mastered another handy soft skill – ability to resolve conflict openly and constructively.
Needless to stay, “the graveness of your concerns” will be a decisive factor on whether you will confront him/her or not. If you can’t stand being a witness to their horrendous fashion style on a day-to-day basis, don’t confront them about it.
What is it exactly that drives you nuts about your manager? Is it something that could be discussed out in the open without either of the parties feeling awkward and, above all, without you getting fired?
If so, then go ahead and do it since that would be a fantastic opportunity to eradicate your problem instantly and permanently (without having to change jobs).
Your resentment raises your blood pressure, not theirs
If you’re one of those people who can’t stand their manager, the following lines are going to make you reconsider your attitude.
Elizabeth Cohen, a senior medical correspondent for CNN’s health, wellness and medical unit, explores in her article how feeling persistently resentful toward other people, say, the annoying and unfair micromanagement style of your manager, can affect your physical well-being.
Believe it or not, there’s such a thing as PTED or post-traumatic embitterment disorder; a proper full-blown diagnosis which describes people who can’t forgive others’ transgressions against them (read: your manager’s irksome behavior).
The repercussions of nurturing resentful feelings toward others take the form of poor physical health. Simply said, being mad at people is bad for your health.
And lo and behold, there was even a whole book written on this subject: “Embitterment: Societal, psychological, and clinical perspectives.” One chapter focuses on what bitterness does to your body and explains in a detailed way that when we feel negatively toward someone, our bodies instinctively prepare to fight that person, which leads to changes such as an increase in blood pressure and C-reactive protein (very bad for your heart and other body parts).
Stop being mad at your manager, he/she probably doesn’t even know nor does he/she care. It’s you who gets the short end of the stick.
Keep reminding yourself of all the physical harm you’re doing to yourself by wallowing in bitterness.