Repairing a bad relationship with your boss

Having a good relationship with your boss is essential for helping to make your working day enjoyable and stress free.

When you get on well with your boss, you can share problems, discuss ideas and enjoy an open and honest relationship that benefits everyone. But not everyone is lucky enough to have a good relationship with their manager. Many people struggle to get on with their boss and this can lead to stress, tension and bad feelings at work.

It’s easy to see why a relationship with your boss might run into trouble. Any relationship where one person holds power over another can be fraught with difficulties.

If your relationship with your boss is less than perfect, you might feel that you are not able to influence the dynamic of your relationship. But if you ignore a bad relationship, things are likely to become worse. So if you’d like to see improvements in the relationship with your boss, it’s worth taking the initiative. Here are some ways you can improve a failing relationship:

Suggest a meeting
A good boss will be proactive and hold regular meetings with their staff but if your own boss doesn’t do this, suggest a regular catch up yourself. Simply sitting and chatting to your boss on a regular basis can help bring issues into the open and give you chance to chat through any problems.

Understand the pressures they are facing
You might feel that a difficult boss is unreasonable or unfair but try to understand why they act that way. Whether they are asking you to put in extra hours or are criticising your work, it’s often because they are facing pressure from their own boss. Try not to take things personally and instead look for ways to help your boss.

Apologise where appropriate
If your relationship with your boss has taken a turn for the worse because of something you did, the best thing you can do is apologise. Show that you’ve learnt from your mistake and help rebuild the trust in your relationship.

Give your boss chance to apologise
Perhaps your relationship has broken down because of something they have done. If this is the case, make sure they know why you are upset and give them chance to apologise. Once they have apologised, it’s time to move on. Don’t dwell on past mistakes. Remember, even though your boss might be senior to you, it doesn’t mean they are perfect.

Log anything serious
If the relationship with your boss doesn’t show signs of improving it may simply be due to a clash of personalities that can’t be changed. If this is the case, you’ll need to decide whether you can bite your tongue and continue to work for your boss without causing any further stress within the relationship. If this isn’t possible, you might be able to consider a transfer depending on the size and nature of your business. But if the behaviour of your boss slides into bullying or unfair treatment, it’s a good idea to keep a log of any difficult conversations and actions so that you have a record for the future in case your boss tries to unfairly dismiss you.

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