When Your Boss Hates You

by Libby-Jane Charleston

To confront or not – that is the question.

The Devil Wears Prada still

Life at work can be difficult if a colleague makes it clear he or she doesn’t particularly like you. But if you’ve ever had to work under a superior or a boss who really dislikes you, for reasons you might never understand, life can become slightly unbearable.

You might tell yourself you’re being paranoid when the boss invites everybody in the office out for Friday night drinks, except for you. But it’s difficult to feel liked when you’re being so obviously excluded. Or perhaps the boss rarely acknowledges your presence in the office, unless it’s to tick you off for wearing a tie/a stylish dress on what you didn’t realise was “Casual Friday.”

There are many signs to look out for if you suspect that your boss can’t stand you.

Rowdy McLean, international keynote speaker, business and leadership consultant, told The Huffington Post Australia the first sign is when your boss doesn’t greet you in the morning, nor say “goodbye” at the end of the work day.

“If your boss doesn’t acknowledge you, if they never ask you anything, refer to you and basically ignore you, there’s a good chance that they don’t know you exist or they just don’t like you,” McLean said.

“The real proof is in how they react to others around you. If they chat animatedly with others in a group while you’re present, but [then] ignore you, you’re probably on the outer.”

The big question is whether you should confront your boss. It could be a good way to sort out whether an aspect of your behaviour is turning your boss against you.

“It’s best to confront it, find out what the problem is and fix it if possible, or at least sort out a working arrangement,” McLean said.

“Sometimes you can agree to disagree and still get the job done. It’s impossible for everyone to like everyone. But you can respect each other’s roles and get the job done without having to get together for coffee and cupcakes on a regular basis.”

Lisa Messenger, Collective Hub CEO, told HuffPost Australia the perception that a boss doesn’t like you often boils down to simple, but often overlooked, human psychology.

“Whether it’s a boss or a colleague, if someone appears to dislike you, or they’re displaying overt or nasty behaviour, it’s usually nothing to do with you, but whatever is going on with them. If you can find out what they like, or what appeals to them in life, you can often turn a mean person into your greatest admirer,” Lisa said.

“I worked with a man who clearly didn’t like me, no matter how nice I was to him. I asked a colleague for advice and I was told, ‘Give him a box of chocolates. He absolutely loves chocolate.’

“So, the next time I saw him, I smiled and gave him a box of chocolates. Somehow that helped and he really softened towards me. Not all relationships can be fixed with chocolates, but if you’re the one who takes the bigger step towards friendship, you will end up having a more connected relationship.”

But sometimes you need to accept the fact that there’s nothing you can do if your boss truly doesn’t like you and it might just be down to a personality clash.

“If you can accept the differences, get the work done and still enjoy your job, then it’s probably okay to stick around,” McLean said.

“If you can’t, then it’s time to move on; life is too short to work for someone who doesn’t like you and the tension will make your job and your life miserable.”

Lisa believes most people just want to be heard, seen and acknowledged for their work.

“Don’t necessarily take someone being mean to you as verbatim. Try and warm to them and take notice of them. If you give them an opportunity to show you their true self, then they will probably soften towards you,” Lisa said.

“And if they don’t, they’re probably just an arsehole!”

This article originally appeared on The Huffington Post Australia.

Image courtesy of 20th Century Fox

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