What to do if you and your supervisor don't get along

What to do if you and your supervisor don't get along

When you met your supervisor during the hiring process, everything went well — and you landed the job. But now, months later, it’s becoming increasingly clear that your personalities clash. Perhaps your supervisor keeps micromanaging you, even though you make it quite clear you can work independently — and that leaves you frustrated. Or maybe you’re very conscientious and pay great attention to detail, and you feel that your manager is a bit too laid back. 

Whatever the reason, if you and your supervisor don’t get along, it’s a problem. And since your manager has authority over you, having a bad relationship with him or her could in the worst-case scenario impact your career. So what can you do about it — if anything? 

Pinpoint the problem

Begin by objectively examining both your own and your manager’s behavior. Do you consistently ignore instructions and do things your own way? Or is your manager overly bossy or rude? If you’re at fault, it’s time to adapt your own behavior. If the problem lies with your supervisor, you need to find a way to work with him or her. Observe how your other team members interact with your supervisor, and try to do things the same way.

Manage up 

In her CNN Business article titled “What to do when you don’t get along with your boss,” Kathryn Vasel advises that if the problems are due to differences in management style, you should tactfully try to manage up. This involves having a discussion with your supervisor to tell him or her what you need in order to perform well. For example, if you prefer more feedback than your manager usually provides, ask for more check-ins and reviews.  

Be frank

In her Forbes article titled “Admitting You Don’t Like Your Boss Could Be the Wisest Career Move You’ll Ever Make,” Amy Morin explains that when a manager and an employee agree about the quality of their relationship, the employee’s motivation increases. Interestingly, this is true both for good and bad relationships. And while you don’t have to tell your supervisor you don’t like him or her, you can easily say something like, “I know we have different personalities and don’t always see things the same way.” It could be a first step towards clearing the air — and that will likely reduce your stress in the workplace. 

No matter how bad things might get, it’s important to remember that you need an income. So if you feel you’ll never get along with your manager and believe that your professional future is at risk, it’s advisable to start looking for a new job — without doing anything to compromise your current position. 




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