For better or worse, people are social creatures who are only able to get things done by communicating with each other. When these communication styles don’t mesh well, things can get bumpy between individuals. When those individuals work together, it can get uglier still.
A boss doesn’t need to be your friend, but it needs to be someone you can work with (and for) effectively. Otherwise your work life can become a torturous situation. For your sake, and your boss’s sake, here are some things to do when it seems like you just can’t get along with your superior.
Ask yourself why you don’t get along with your boss. Arrive at a specific answer if you can. Is it something you can change? Be sure to assess whether you’re making any unreasonable assumptions that could be hampering progress in your professional relationship with your superior. Assumptions can easily be found to be incorrect.
What do other people think of him or her? If you don’t already have a sense of how others relate to this person, casually ask around and take the temperature of fellow employees’ perceptions of your superior. Does this person have a history of being difficult or hard to get along with?
Get help from someone your boss likes. Take pointers from the person who always seems to make your difficult superior smile. If you can be so honest as to ask what they specifically do in order to please the higher-ups, then do. If not, then ask for suggestions and advice from their approach to the work. It might just make you better at your job while winning new favor from above.
Overcommunicate. This makes it easier for people to understand your thought process and approach, which they might be taking umbrage with. The quality of your life tends to vary directly with the quality of your communication, so if you want an improved work life, develop improved work communication.
Make the conscious effort to learn something from your boss. This puts you in an automatically humbled position, and might do your perspective some good while also putting you in your boss’s better graces. Once again, a great way to get a little better at your job while demonstrating that you can rise to various challenges.
Be great at your job. Let a personality conflict be personality conflict and don’t let it extend to the professional realm. Make sure that your work is beyond reproach. If things should somehow devolve and get ugly between you and your boss, be sure that it has nothing to do with the quality of work you produce.