08 March 2017
No matter your personality or skill level, every professional will encounter a manager that is difficult to work with at some point in their career. When you feel like your manager doesn’t understand your objectives or doesn’t listen to your ideas, it can be demoralizing. For anyone, being put into such an uncomfortable position can leave a cloud over your head at the office, creating more work, higher stress levels, and an increasingly negative environment. While a difficult manager can come in many forms, from an uncommunicative person to a micromanager, often, there is an underlying issue of trust, and you can take some of the same steps to try to resolve your issues. Even though it can be tempting to throw up your arms and call it quits when things get a little rough, be sure to try these steps before deciding that it’s time to move on from this manager. Explain what you need and why Honesty, while sometimes the most difficult part, is the most important step in the process of healing your divide and getting along. Whether you need to schedule a formal sit-down or you can casually bring up the topic, explain clearly and honestly where you feel there is a problem. Many times, these disagreements simply take place because there is a lack of understanding between the two parties. Be sure that you walk through your thought process and why you feel that that is the best course of action. By giving your detailed account, it may be enough to change their mind. Try it their way If you still don’t see eye to eye after explaining your side of the situation, you may need to adjust your actions. Depending on the issue, try to adapt to your manager’s needs for a short period of time—even if you know that it isn’t going to work out. Whether they want you to try a new strategy or complete unnecessary steps, simply complying for a short period of time can show your commitment to reaching a resolution. By tracking your results, you can either show that this is not the way to continue, or you may even be surprised to discover that your manager’s plan wasn’t so bad after all. Reevaluate and communicate your results If you’ve found that following your manager’s instructions has hindered your work or the company’s goals, share those results with them. If you can communicate clearly how this process has not solved the intended issue or even created new problems, your manager will have a harder time arguing with numbers in your defense. Additionally, while it may be tempting to do this sooner rather than later, be sure that you have allowed enough time and made an honest effort to attempt it their way first. Attempt a compromise If you’re still stuck on opposing sides, it is probably time to attempt a compromise. While you may not want to cede any ground, at the end of the day, you’ll need to come to some sort of agreement in order to resolve the issue and continue working. Throughout your compromise, be sure that you remain calm, and explain where and how it makes sense to find a middle ground. Explore other options No matter who you are, it simply isn’t possible to get along with everyone. If you feel like you’ve tried everything to rectify the situation, but you still are unable to communicate or come to an agreement with your manager, it may be best to find another opportunity. Remember that the added stress and negativity may be best left behind in search of a position where your mental health and career path feel less precarious.