Help! My Boss Hates Me!

Linda dreads going to work: her boss is never satisfied and their discussions always leave Linda frustrated and confused. She’s convinced that her boss hates her!

Have you ever worked for a boss you just didn’t get along with? Have you felt like she or he was out to get you, or you just could never be good enough? It’s unusual for managers and associates to really loathe one another personally. It happens, just not as often as you might think. Most of the time there is something else going on. Before you decide you and your boss can never get along, ask yourself these questions.

Am I part of the problem?

Just like personal relationships, work relationships take two people working on them. If you and your boss don’t get along, be honest with yourself: how much of that do you own? Do you talk behind her back? Undermine her efforts? Turn up late when you know she is a stickler for being on time? Treat her with without respect? Recognize the part you play in creating and maintaining the relationship. If you’re doing something to undermine it, stop. If appropriate, apologize. Your behavior at work should always be professional.

Is it really hate or just different styles?

Some people are doers, others thinkers. If your boss likes to decide and act quickly, while you prefer to reflect and plan first, it may be that your styles aren’t aligned. That can create misunderstandings and lead to conflict. Talking about it and agreeing to try to compromise might help. This isn’t personal. She doesn’t hate you; you just work differently. Studies have shown that diversity of thinking and working styles can make a team stronger. So don’t take the differences to heart. Instead, look for ways to make your differences an advantage for the team.

bad boss pexels

How bad is it, really?

Sometimes when we’re in the middle of a problem it’s easy to lose perspective. Small annoyances start to look like major issues. Imagine yourself hearing a total stranger describe your situation. How sympathetic would you be? Try describing it to a friend and asking for their opinion. An honest friend will tell you if you are overreacting. If it’s really a minor issue, learn to ignore it. She’s not your mother, sister, or best friend. You don’t have to like her, you just have to work together.

Is it fixable?

A bad relationship with a boss can often be corrected with an honest, calm discussion. If you helped to create the problem, you must help to solve it. If there is a misunderstanding, you can take the lead in sorting it out. Go for lunch or coffee; meeting in a third space, not your office or hers, makes staying calm easier. Explain that you want to improve your working relationship.  Ask open-ended questions about what she sees and why she thinks you aren’t working well together. Bringing concerns into the light makes it easier to resolve them. You might learn something interesting. She might not even think there’s a problem!

It’s rare to find yourself in a completely hopeless situation with your boss. Consider these questions, talk with your boss, involve HR. In most cases, you can work something out. Find advice in books and online that can help you cope. And remember, this is about work. Stay professional. Even if your boss can’t!


Is there anything good about having a bad boss?  Find out in the video below!


Image credits:


Marne Platt

Dr. Marne Platt is the President of Fundamental Capabilities and the author of 3 books (so far): Living Singlish: Your Life, Your Way; Professional Presence; and PREP For Success. Originally a practicing veterinarian, she built a successful career in the pharmaceutical industry. She founded Fundamental Capabilities to ‘pay it forward’ by providing career development workshops and coaching for women. ‘Living Singlish: Your Life, Your Way’ is an ‘older sister in your pocket’ packed full of advice for young women on building their own independent and exciting life. 'Professional Presence' and PREP For Success' help you strengthen your spoken and unspoken communication and leadership presence.

You may also like...