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Personality clash with your boss? Tips to cope …

You’re passionate about your job, inspired by your team and your projects. You also admire your boss.

Then, one day, it’s announced your boss is moving on. A slight sense of panic sets in. What if you don’t like the replacement?

If you’re faced with a difficult boss, don’t give up. There are steps to take if life gets a rocky and you find yourself clashing with your manager.

This expert article provides helpful hints on dealing with such a situation. Putting these into action will support you to reduce stress, increase work satisfaction, keep productivity up, and even feel rewarded for handling a delicate situation well.

Assess your boss’ personality

Workplaces are diverse and we’re all different. Understanding your boss’ personality type is an essential first step to gaining a fresh perspective.

Assessing what makes them tick? Are they authoritative? Narcissistic? Pace-setting? An introvert?

Walk in your boss’ shoes

Also assess your boss’ challenges and motivations. Ask a wide range of questions:

Are they under the gun and pressured?

Are they facing enormous responsibilities without adequate resources? Have they been given a super tight deadline?

Were they thrown in the deep-end without an appropriate handover?

Have they been provided with appropriate training?

Do they have the support they require?

Walking in your boss’ shoes and understanding their pressure points can give you valuable insights into what is driving certain behaviours. You may even feel empathetic as a result.

Think about your personality

Sometimes it’s easier to blame others for problems. If you’re clashing with your boss, is it entirely their fault or is part of your personality feeding into the situation?

Chances are your boss isn’t making life difficult for the sake of it. They may not even understand the impact they’re having on the team.

What can you do to better accept the situation? Can you make to ease the situation? Do you need to take responsibility for your behaviour or personality traits?

Have a chat

Think about organising a meeting with your boss to talk about the situation, although handle this delicately. Never walk into your boss’ office, announce you have a problem with their personality or way of operating, and expect to come out as a winner.

Being honest and open in the workplace is healthy, but you need to adopt the right strategy, choose your words carefully and spend time preparing before meeting. And always be 100 per cent professional.

Remember that there’s nothing wrong with asking if there’s a way to work better together. Many boss’ appreciate employees taking initiative to problem solve. Your boss might even be relieved you’ve raised the issue – if you’re feeling unhappy, chances are they are too.

During this chat, focus on what you can do to help with productivity and seamless operations.

Be results-oriented. What practical changes will make your boss’ life easier and ensure results? What support is needed? How can you progress differently?

Avoid bad-mouthing your boss

Although it may be tempting, bad-mouthing your boss with colleagues is unprofessional and risky. Chances are word will get back creating a much bigger problem than your boss’ personality.

Bad-mouthing makes you part of the issue and creates negativity among your team.

If you must vent, do so with a friend or family member, and always outside of working hours.

Focus on your leadership skills

Dealing with challenging people at work is a great leadership skill. Amazing leaders turn negatives into positives.

Read about dealing with challenging personality types to see what leadership skills you can put into action to make life easier.

You could also complete an online personality profile (like DISC) for insights on how you work and what your drivers are – for added perspective.

Also think about how resilient you are at work.

Consult with an expert

If you’ve tried your best and still struggle with a difficult boss, think about consulting with an expert. That could be someone in your HR department or your work’s employee assistance program. Perhaps you can talk to a coach or a mentor.

This will enable you to gain fresh perspectives and concrete ideas for making meaningful change.

Moving on

Sadly, there are times when moving on from a super difficult boss becomes the only option. If that’s the case, be discreet about looking for new opportunities and never let it affect your performance at work.

Don’t blame yourself, either. If you’ve done all you can and are still unhappy, remember that your mental health and work-life balance are of paramount importance. Guilt isn’t going to help you feel better about a situation you can’t control.

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