Karen Darrin

Even though managers should try to remain objective at work, it’s no secret that your boss has a fave at the office—and it’s not you. Since you have your mind and heart set on moving up in your career, what are your options? Should you focus on winning over your supervisor, or find other ways of reaching your career goals?

Here are 6 tactics to use, even if your boss doesn’t like you:

Improve the Relationship

Are there other colleagues who report to your boss and have more positive relationships? Is there a different approach that they are taking or anything you can learn from their performance? Try and get advice from those around you.

You can attempt ways to improve your relationship. Listen and ask your boss questions to define what they expect of you, and find if they are willing or able to meet those expectations. Try asking questions like “What would it take for you to see me as a high performer;” or “If you were me, what would you focus on to move ahead in this organization?”

Find Others to Support You

You may feel that your manager doesn’t listen well or value what you have to offer the organization, but it’s not the end of the world. There are many more people out there who can help. Develop relationships with more people, whether a more experienced peer, a more senior person in another part of the workplace or even people outside your workplace. The key is to not rely on just one person (in this case, your boss) for support—and this applies even if your boss thinks you walk on water.

Stay Involved

From big projects to team meetings, you want to be sure that your boss sees you right in the thick of things. Dealing with your boss means you should continue to be a strong contributing member to your department. Maybe your boss doesn’t like you, but they’ll have to respect the way you handle your business and how much you add to the team. If you need to, do a little subtle self-promotion. It’s not enough to just be there getting work done. You also need to be immersed in your team and your company and show that you’re a key cog in the wheel.

Don’t Avoid Your Boss

Think you’re stealthily avoiding the boss? You’re not. Changing your patterns so you’re not at the coffee machine at the same time or never sitting close to them at team meetings may seem like subtle strokes of genius to you, but they will eventually stand out to your boss. Then what? They’ll wonder why you’re avoiding them. Are you not getting your work done? What are you trying to hide? If you thought your boss didn’t like you before, you really won’t have to wonder if they notice that you’re avoiding them. Don’t do it.

Support Your Boss

Be on the lookout for things that might help or hurt your boss and let them know. For example, what tasks or assignments can you take on that might offload your boss’ workload? Consider supporting your boss in a tangible way. They’ll appreciate the fact that you’ve “got their back.”

Additionally, a compliment can go a long way when it’s done right. You don’t want to be obvious and come across as a kiss-up, but there’s nothing wrong with a well-placed compliment, especially when thinking your boss doesn’t like you. The trick is to keep it professional. Stick to simple work-related topics like “I liked the format of today’s staff meeting;” or “Nice job on the presentation at the meeting. I think you got their attention.” Follow it up with a little detail to show that you genuinely noticed.

Don’t Bad Mouth Your Boss

You may think it’s simple office chatter, but when you start badmouthing your boss or telling others you think your boss doesn’t like you, you’re in trouble. Even when you think you’ve found a sympathetic ear, you don’t know who that person will tell and so on. Once you’re in the gossip chain the chances are that it will get back to your boss, and it will be connected to you. You don’t want to get called into that office for a closed-door session that starts with “So, I hear you’ve been saying …” Talking trash about your boss is a big sign of disrespect that will quickly land you in hot water.

Not everyone likes everyone else which means that your boss may not like you. It’s a tough reality. If they still respect you and the work you do, you may be able to just ignore it, but if it’s making your life and your job miserable, follow these steps to try and bridge that gap. It may be that there is a misunderstanding that you can work through with a positive attitude and effort. But the bottom line is this: your boss isn’t responsible for your career—you are.

CALL TO ACTION:  Need help navigating your career? Let’s brainstorm the best strategies to get your career back on track. Slot a complimentary 30-min consult here:  Schedule Free Consult.

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