How to Handle it When Your Boss Doesn’t Like You

As much as we’d all like everyone to like us, some people just won’t.

It sucks when that happens with your boss, but hey – it happens.

There are several reasons any given person could have a natural dislike for you, and most of them are completely out of your control.

Usually, it’s a subconscious bias based on a memory you inspire in the person (that they don’t like) or just general pet peeve issues.

Maybe you just have a bad boss

Either way, when it’s your boss who has the bias… that’s not fun.

Here are a few signs that you are on your boss’s shit list:

  • You’re getting micromanaged
  • You don’t get guidance and training
  • You get stuck on projects with low-performing team members or get “busy work”
  • Your opinion is not solicited or considered
  • You never get feedback or praise

If your boss dislikes you (whether it’s a conscious realization or a subconscious bias against you for reasons beyond your control) there are ways for you to keep your job without going crazy from the stress of being treated unfairly or differently than everyone else.

Here’s a quick guide to positive actions in each of those scenarios.

  1. You’re Being Micromanaged
    First, observe to see if other people get treated like this, too. If they do, you probably just have a crappy boss and it’s not anything personal. Micromanagement is the lowest form of management; when a boss does this as a way of life with everyone that’s a sign to you that it’s a bad boss with poor management skills.
    If you’re the only one, start your actions by diving inside yourself. Have you done something to damage this person’s trust in you? Have you dropped the ball or made big mistakes? Have you been late on deadlines or forgotten duties that were assigned to you? In these cases, a good manager should shift to a micromanaging style to make sure the work is being done.
    In this case, here’s a truth bomb: you deserve it.
    It’s your manager’s job to make sure the work gets done appropriately, so if you’ve given any reason for a lack of confidence, then the work that needs to be done here is inside you. You may need guidance in time management & boundaries, personal effectiveness, and communication. When this is the case, after you have done what you can do to improve, it’s time to go to your boss and explain your realization, your personal investment in your own improvement and ask if there is anything you can do to build trust and earn autonomy.
    If your boss resists, ask if there is any way that you could be given a little bit more freedom on just one thing and then see if you can build from there. Just make sure that if you are given freedom in this way, you’d better be ready to bring it… because if you don’t, you could prove to your boss that you’re not capable of improvement and this could be the end of the road for you in this job.
  2. You Don’t Get Guidance & Training
    Think of it this way… if there was someone you didn’t like, would you want to spend time helping them be a better person? Probably not.
    Still, unless you’re simply not doing your job, it’s a manager’s duty to give proper guidance and training.
    In this case, you have no choice but to be respectfully proactive. Approach your boss with kindness, patience, and respect – always.
    Ask for training opportunities, and be specific when you do. Simply saying, “I’d like training,” won’t get you anywhere.
    Find specific industry or job function-specific training opportunities, put together a cost/benefit analysis for the company (why the company would benefit from your growth in this area), and pitch it like you’re selling something… because you are. You’re selling yourself and your intention to remain employed and in good graces.
  3. You Get Stuck on Projects with Low-Performing Team Members or Get “Busy Work”
    This stinks. You end up getting junk work or stuck with the office dullard who doesn’t pull his/her weight.
    Proactivity is the name of the game here.
    One of the main things that helped me “get ahead” was creating my own work. Employees who wait to have work handed or given to them are going to get junky jobs. So, find the things you want to be doing, and if you have to work in teams, make friends and pair up before pitching the work so you can go with a united front.
    Just make sure while you’re doing this, you’re keeping your communication on the up-and-up. No trash talking – ever – with anyone.
    Don’t go there.
    When you’re on this mission to create positive work experiences and partners, don’t diss your boss to the others.
    You’ll end up with more positive impressions across the board if your intentions seem pure by not tainting them with insults and paranoid inquiries.
  4. Your Opinion is Not Being Solicited or Considered
    When I was a manager, I remember one particular team member whose opinion I never asked to receive.
    Wanna know why?
    It’s because she was way too free-flowing with every single opinion she ever had. So free-flowing, in fact, that we all knew what she thought of our clothing style, choice of vehicle, and personal habits.
    It was annoying.
    If your boss never asks you what you think, make sure it’s not because you’re being completely annoying and are acting as though your opinion is the leading authority on all things universal.
    When your boss is not valuing your quality opinions about work-related issues, it usually means that either that person just does not respect you for one reason or another (possible things completely out of your control as we have mentioned).
    When you have the opportunity, and a high-quality opinion that could make work easier on your team, save the company money, or increase productivity, respectfully ask for permission to share. A way to do that is simply by saying, “There’s a way we may be able to streamline this… ”  or by outright saying, “I have an idea that might make this more profitable; may I share it?”
  5. You Never Get Feedback or Praise
    There are several layers to this one.
    First, if your boss really does not like you, it’s reasonable that his/her blind spots would keep compliments from pouring.
    You’ll just have to develop boundaries that keep this from hurting your feelings.
    This coping strategy can be used in any area of life where you need or desire some words of affirmation: keep a journal.
    This is the journal I use because it’s relatively small and comes with divided tab sections. In that journal, my sections are affirmations, success/celebration, gratitude, evidence, hairy-scary dreams, and notes.
    Those sections are fairly self-explanatory, but if you want deeper insight into them, here’s a blog I wrote about it.
    You can record your own affirmations, evidence of your progress forward, and work well-done as well as successes to celebrate, points of gratitude, and your biggest dreams that may scare you to write down because they’re so HUGE!
    It’s a sign that your self-esteem is low if you’re in need of a lot of praise from the outside. Mindset tweaks can fix that, and you can get plenty of them with mentorship and coaching using our monthly membership packages.

The golden rule here is to always lead with kindness.

When you are leading with kindness, respect follows. Don’t forget to respect yourself as well, though – and if you are being treated unfairly, know that you have options. There are some circumstances when it’s fitting to talk with HR, and others when you know it’s time to make a job change. If that is where you find yourself, our Successful Transitions program is a step-by-step guide to getting you into a position with a company where you will be valued for your knowledge and expertise no matter what your line of work.

We also want to invite you to join our free online community the GILDed Life where people from around the globe are united in their own personal journies of personal and professional development. See you there!

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