The latest Australia Talks, one of the nation’s biggest social surveys, uncovered that 1 out of 10 of us don’t like our boss. We might adore our work but struggle with our ‘boss relationship’.

The issue is what to do about it. Can such a relationship be fixed? Do you need to leave the job you love just to escape?

This uncomfortable situation can be stressful. After all, we spend a lot of time at work and want to enjoy it.

Here are steps to take when you love your work but hate your boss.

List the pros and cons

Make a list of what you love about your job and what you hate about working for your boss. Write down everything (large, medium and small factors).

The love list might include that you find your work stimulating. Maybe you love your organisation’s values. Perhaps you love your physical work environment—that your office is close to home and/or smack in the middle of the city. It could be you love your work hours and the flexibility of your position.

The hate list might include that your boss is a micromanager. Perhaps they lack leadership skills. Maybe your boss doesn’t understand or support you. It might be they haven’t come through with promises for promotions or new opportunities. It might be that you don’t believe your boss’s behaviour aligns with organisational. It could be you have a personality clash.

Once you have a comprehensive list, assess it objectively. If, for example, you list 15 loves and only 2 hates, it might not be worth it to ditch your job. Maybe you can take a deep breath and manage what you don’t like about your boss to keep your rewarding position. It might be your list has uncovered something you can shift to make matters more manageable. If you work for a micromanager, consider putting these ideas in place.

Talk to someone

If you work in an organisation with a Human Resources department or Employee Assistance Program, make an appointment to discuss your situation. The experts working in these areas will have seen similar situations and can have great ideas on ‘what next’.

You can talk to an expert recruiter about possibilities in case you end up moving. It might help to find a mentor or a coach to support you in working through matters. They may recommend reading material. They might support you to gain perspective or share practical ideas. This can be important given that building leadership skills requires dealing with difficult and challenging people.

Whatever you do, don’t sit, stew and let matters get so bad you can’t see blue sky on the horizon.

Talk to your boss

Having assessed the situation and talked to others you may decide to chat to your boss. This can be a bit nerve wracking so be positive and get the conversation off on the right foot. Don’t barge in and announce you believe your boss doesn’t like you and how unfair that is. Instead, broach the subject diplomatically and professionally. It’s always smart to ask remind your boss that you love your job. Then ask questions like:

‘Is there anything I can do to better meet your needs and be as productive as possible?

‘Can we work together on anything we can do differently?’

Move on

If all else fails and you find your love-my-job-hate-my-boss situation isn’t improving—no matter how much time and effort you’ve put in—you may have to move on. In this case, check out internal transfers (if you want to stay with the same organisation) or look for positions elsewhere that will make you happy.

Developing an exit plan or career path is a good start. It will keep you focused. If you move on, you’ll likely be asked for an exit interviews This is an opportunity to voice your situation.

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Remember

  1. If you love your job but hate your boss you’re not alone. One in 10 Australians face a similar situation, according to Australia Talks.
  2. Everyone deserves to work in a great team and for a great boss who brings the best out of staff.
  3. At face-to-face our recruiters believe there’s a position out there for everyone. We just need to work together to find it.