It's a relief when you start a job and you click with your boss. But what if the opposite is true? If you are a few months into your new position and you realize that you and your boss are not meshing well, what would you do? What should you do?
Start by figuring out the problem. There are a few reasons why your relationship might be strained and few things you can do to make it better.
The trait of conscientiousness is one aspect of personality that can cause difficulties. You may feel like your boss is putting too much pressure on you. If you are more conscientious than your boss, you may try to polish your work. You may be spending too much time on tasks that your boss doesn't want you to do.
It is important to know your boss's expectations for the level of perfection that is expected. It will help you to calibrate the amount of effort that is needed for assignments and may help you deal with a long to-do list.
A characteristic that can cause problems is agreeableness, which shows how motivated you are to get along with others. If you are more agreeable than your boss, they may not give you feedback that makes you feel welcome. You may be concerned that your boss doesn't like you.
Paying attention to how your boss treats everyone is important. If they aren't warm, focus on feedback you get about your performance, rather than on the interactions you have.
Openness to experience is a third characteristic that can cause problems. People who are open are more likely to check out and embrace new opportunities, while people who are closed are more likely to avoid new approaches.
One of you is pushing the other to think in a different way, while the other is resisting this urge. If your boss is less open than you are, it's important to inform him about new approaches and opportunities in advance of when you need to make a decision.
If you have a mismatch between what you think you should be doing and what your boss thinks you should be doing, you are likely to get negative feedback about your performance.
In this case, you will want to bring your to-do list to your check-ins so you can walk through it together to determine which tasks are most important.
What should you do if your boss tells you that the most important shifts from day-to-day? When your boss is reacting to events, this is a pattern. It is difficult to ride this roller-coaster because you are never sure what you are supposed to do.
If you have frequent check-ins with your boss, you can determine if there are new areas where you should be making progress.
When your boss is agreeable, this can be problematic. Because agreeable people want to be liked, they can't give direct negative feedback because they don't like being criticized. You may get the feeling that your boss is displeased with your performance without any specific statements about what you should do differently.
Asking specific questions about your work will help you get feedback you need to improve. The benefit of this approach is that your boss will be better able to offer constructive criticism without being asked if you take it well.
You don't need to like your boss to like your job. If your work environment is stable and you get along with a few of your colleagues, it's okay if you and your boss don't hang out together. You can learn a lot from watching your boss. When you become a leader, focus on what makes them successful and take those lessons from them.
The discussion assumes that your boss isn't doing anything inappropriate for the workplace. If you have a boss who yells or harasses you, you need to get human resources involved. You shouldn't be trying to navigate on your own.