By Tom Jager –
Unfortunately, conflicts between bosses and employees are common in the workplace. They arise because of different reasons and may be completely unwanted just like any other interpersonal conflicts we face in our life. Often, these conflicts are initiated by the bosses because they have power over the employees and can afford a reasonable share of criticism. However, sometimes they go beyond this reasonable share which creates a conflict. These conflicts undermine the interpersonal relationships with an employee or multiple employees, which can lead to negative consequences for the performance.
Are you having a conflict with your boss as well? See these examples of common negative attitude demonstration from the bosses to be sure:
“You have been working with me long enough to know that this method will not work.”
Well, it is expressed by simply ignoring you.
“I cannot believe that you were the one that came up with such a stupid solution.”
“Did you do your homework? I am having a hard time believing you actually did.”
If you have you been addressed with similar phrases or attitude in the workplace, it is clear that there is a conflict that needs to be solved as soon as possible. There could be different reasons why you are faced with such attitude. For example, your manager may not have any confidence in you because you have been failing a lot lately, or you and your manager might be just mismatched in terms of integrity, ethics, and values. Finally, you might have different positions in the company and he or she just prefers to show that your position is lower.
Whatever the reason is, a proper management of the conflict is required to ensure that you continue working in the company. Let’s review some strategies to help you in this case.
Relationship Improvement Plan
Determine what irritates your boss
Each person has a unique working style that involves some things that they just cannot stand. Let’s call them “hot buttons.” These hot buttons are things that can quickly turn the person from happy to angry and set their off big time. Try to determine the working style of your boss and identify these hot buttons. For example, your boss might not appreciate it if someone misses the deadline or acts in some way that makes them grumpy. When you identify them, make sure you do not repeat these undesirable actions in the future in order for the hot buttons to stay untouched.
Ask for one-on-one meeting
Sometimes, a direct interaction is the best solution to managing and resolving the conflict. Approach your boss and kindly ask for a short one-on-one meeting by saying that you wish to work on resolving the conflict. Be prepared and have some questions to ask before the meeting. For example, you can use these:
“Can you please provide me with examples of what you mean?”
“I am concerned with the remarks you have been making. Can we please work together to resolve the issue?”
“I could not help noticing a different attitude from you. Can you help me to understand the reason for such attitude?”
Do not involve other people
If you think that informing other about the details of your conflict with the boss is a good idea, forget it. He or she can eventually find out that you have been saying about the conflict to other people and interpret it as a hostile response. As the result, the crisis might enter an even darker period, the outcome of which could be really bad.
Refer to Human Resources
Do it only if all your attempts to find a consensus have failed. Go to the HR and have a conversation about the conflict and inform them about the actions that you took to improve the situation. This way, they will see that you applied some effort to resolve the conflict but the boss did not share your aspiration. Ask the HR representative to get involved in the conflict and see what they can do. Eventually, having a third party perspective might identify that the reason of the conflict is not you at all. Well, bosses, just like many employees, may not be so friendly to everyone.
Managing the conflict with the boss might be difficult, but it is possible. In most cases, the bosses do not like to engage in conflicts, either, so you could be successful if you make a first step. Use these tips to show that you are a mature and accountable person who can resolve conflicts on any level.