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We’ve all worked for a jerk at one time or another. No one likes it but reality is, many companies keep them in place because they excel in other areas besides their ability to lead. Like it or not, your relationship with your boss has a profound influence over your ability to succeed at a new company and can have ripple effects on your future career success.
How can you cultivate a more positive relationship with a difficult boss?
For starters, you’re gong to have to accept that certain personality issues are beyond your control. Resenting the person who has the authority to impact your financial future will do nothing to change the situation. You will also have to let go of unrealistic expectations that his/her personality will change – chances are, it won’t. The only thing you can change is how you react.
One approach for dealing with a difficult boss is by strategically demonstrating your value while supporting your boss’ best interests:
- Understand what’s needed and deliver it on time and in the way your boss prefers.
- Make it accurate and what is requested rather than what you can get away with.
- Seek advice and accept constructive criticism gracefully.
- Share the credit you receive for work well done.
- Communicate clearly, professionally, honestly, and as often as your boss wants.
- Be a reliable team member in thought, word, and deed.
- Become the most reliable team member in thought, word, and deed.
- Consistently make your boss look good to others through your words and deeds.
- Thank your boss for either specific support on an endeavor or general encouragement.
- Never assume a job is complete when you hand it in. Be prepared to revise, edit, or recast your work.
- Increase your skills and expand your connectivity by volunteering for any interdepartmental projects or committees.
- Ensure by your actions that others within your department know of your loyalty to them and to the department’s goals.
- Look for orphan projects that no one wants but that you know your boss wants done
You should avoid these behaviors that could alienate your boss:
- Don’t over-commit yourself to special projects to the point that your performance suffers.
- Never display disloyalty. If you’re seeking a promotion your boss should know and be part of the program.
- Never criticize your boss to other employees.
- Take on orphan projects that you think will impress your boss without knowing if they actually will.
The workplace brings together people from all kinds of backgrounds who may annoy or irritate each other. But as personal relationships survive because of mutual respect, connectivity and common goals, the same can be said of professional ones.
You and your boss may both share an interest in earning a living, a passion for your profession, and meeting corporate goals, for instance. Your relationship can become much more positive if you focus on connecting points rather than differences.