Do you dread the thought of coming in to work because of your boss? Do you find yourself mentally crossing your arms in a defensive mindset every time they speak to you or feel your hackles rising every time you see their name pop up in your inbox?
Identify the actual problem
Firstly take some time to reflect on the situation to help you identify the problem(s). You and your boss may have different personality characteristics and rub each other up the wrong way, but it is actually quite rare that this would be the sole cause of the friction. Often other issues can create a stressful situation but we may latch on to our manager’s personality trait(s) as the source of our frustration.
Think about your general work situation. Is everything else going well or are there areas that are making you feel under pressure? If so, you may find a solution by addressing these first, possibly with the help of your manager.
Have a one to one with your boss
Try calling your manager aside and talking to them about the issue that you have. It could be that they are unaware of a problem but are in a position to make changes to the work situation that will help to improve matters.
Remain focused on the issues at hand and avoid letting the conversation become a general moan about work colleagues. Keeping it focused in this way will help to direct the discussion towards finding a solution. Finish by agreeing a definite plan of action and schedule a follow-up.
As a tip, speak to your manager in a private area where you can both sit down, such as a meeting room. It may even be worth talking outside the office environment, in a nearby cafÃ© or a pub after work.
Getting HR involved
However, if your manager’s behaviour is definitely the issue and is seriously affecting you then you may want to consider raising the matter officially as a grievance with HR. As this will place the situation on a formal basis they will have to investigate.
On the plus side you should have the protection of a formal process, which the company will have to follow. If it fails to do this it would almost certainly cause them severe issues at an employment tribunal, as adjudicators take a very dim view of companies that fail to follow their own processes. You should be able to learn more about grievances from the company intranet.
The downside of raising a grievance is that it can permanently sour your relationship with your manager. You will have some breathing space while the process is taking place as they are unlikely to treat you badly because it could be used as evidence against them. After the process has concluded your relationship may be irreparable. But if it had already broken down there may be little to lose anyway.
The other alternative is to take the initiative and remove yourself from the situation. You could do this by moving internally if opportunities are available – often a good option if you enjoy working with the company but don’t like your boss. Changing the problem person could resolve the situation completely.
The other alternative is to simply leave and look for a role with a different company. Then at least you won’t have to deal with that boss anymore. Cue a sigh of relief!