Don’t get along with your supervisor? Here’s what you can do

If you’re lucky, you might have a great relationship with your supervisor. But if you’re like most people, chances are you’ve experience some level of conflict at one point or another with your supervisor or employer. Keep in mind, we’re not talking about blatantly hostile relationships, but more subtle conflicts due to personality differences.

Personality conflicts in the workplace can be especially difficult to manage since there is no person to blame or main issue that needs to be solved. But while personality clashes are tricky issues to deal with, there are a couple things you can do to help manage a clash with your supervisor.

Try to understand them better

When dealing with a personality clash, it’s always important to stop and remember that the person is not out to get you or trying to make your life difficult. You are simply two different people with different communication styles. Try and pay attention to how your supervisor responds to certain situation and how they interact with their environment. Paying closer attention to them will help you better understand who they are and how they communicate. For example, let’s say you always say ‘good morning’ and smile at your supervisor at the start of each day, and perhaps they don’t smile back. Typically, you might look at a response like this and think they are rude. However, if you take the time to watch them interact with others, you may find that they don’t tend to smile a lot and they veer away from small talk. After noticing that, instead of seeing them as rude, you can infer that they may just not be as comfortable around people as you are, or maybe they are not a strong communicator and experience some awkwardness in social settings. Understanding something like this can help you develop empathy for them and make it easier for you to tolerate their behaviour.

Learn to compartmentalize

You may have been told that compartmentalizing isn’t a good thing, but it depends on the situation. Compartmentalizing can be a very powerful psychological coping mechanism to help organize your encounters. If you have trouble getting along with your supervisor, try and be as professional as possible. Keep your encounters strictly business-related and don’t get too personal with them. This will help to put boundaries around this relationship and ensure that it doesn’t negatively affect you as a whole.

Workplace relationships can be tough, and relationships with supervisors can be even more tough. If you’re having a personality clash with your supervisor or employer, try these tips. If you think your issues may be more than personality differences, check out this article for 5 clear signs of a bad boss.

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