Most people have trouble with about 50% of their bosses.
–Michael Lombardo and Robert Eichinger, FYI – For Your Improvement

Last week we talked about “managing up”; today we’re going to take it a step deeper.

What if you don’t have a strong relationship with your boss? You’re not alone. Per Lombardo and Eichinger, about half of us have boss difficulties.

Some of us may have:

  • communication issues
  • lack of comfort; tense up whenever the “boss” is around
  • respect issues; lack of appreciation for the skills the boss possesses
  • a lack of skills to sufficiently manage the relationship
  • defensiveness and lack of cooperation issues
  • the inability to receive feedback and suggestions for improvement

Guess what – the buck stops with us as we will likely be the one to suffer. We’ll get poor performance reviews, not get raises (or negligible ones), be passed over for the “good assignments”, and probably not be considered for promotions or career advancement opportunities.

We’re not suggesting to become brown nosers; rather identify the top 3 issues you feel impact the relationship and focus on improving them.  What can YOU do to better the situation?

Start with keeping your negative thoughts to yourself.  Don’t get caught up in the coffee room chats that all too often engage in bashing and sharing war stories.

Schedule regular meetings with your boss; don’t avoid the relationship, rather try to build a more favorable one.

If the leader truly has integrity issues and violates the policies, principles, and values of your company, investigate whether your company has an ombudsperson (The typical duties of an ombudsman are to objectively investigate complaints and do their best to obtain resolution). If one does not exist, another approach is to meet with HR or your boss’s boss.

Be realistic about your expectations. Is it only you that has an issue with the boss? Are you being antagonistic and not being a team player? Are you helping support goal achievement and in general being an asset to your organization?

Keep in mind that things may not go in your favor, and changing jobs may be an option (or a requirement!).

Having a bad boss isn’t your fault. Staying with one is.
— Nora Denzel