Does your boss really like you? While it’s true that you don’t have to be bosom buddies with your boss in order to do your job, it certainly makes things a lot more difficult if there’s some personal dislike between you and your superiors.
But how can you tell if you’re really disliked, or if you’re just being overly sensitive?
Here are some key signs to look out for that will tell you the answer:
- Excludes you from important meetings, discussions, decisions. Either she forgot to invite you (which means you’re forgettable in her eyes) or it was deliberate. Either way, it’s not good.
- Micromanages you. If your boss is micromanaging you, it’s because he doesn’t trust you—whether his reasoning is valid or not.
- Inaccessibility. The opposite of micromanagement, this can be just as bad if your boss is never available to answer questions or talk with you about important subjects.
- Publicly criticizes you. First, this is just bad management technique. But in addition, it may mean that he is trying to humiliate you or call you out.
- Skips you in the promotion round. If this happens more than once and you haven’t had any corresponding black marks on your performance review, it could be personal.
- Never thanks you (even though that can be a sign that your boss is just too busy and maybe not that emotionally intelligent).
- Dismissal of your ideas. If your boss treats all your ideas as stupid, especially if he does so in a public setting, like a team meeting, it’s not good.
- Lack of communication of any sort. She never emails, she never calls. It’s like she’s just forgotten you exist… The only thing worse than negative feedback is no feedback at all.
- Stops introducing you to clients. This is a big bruise to the old ego, because it implies that your boss is embarrassed of you or that somehow you’re not worthy to represent the company or the team.
- You’re constantly assigned menial tasks. If you’re always the one sent for coffee, asked to make a zillion copies, or put in charge of the filing—and you’re not an unpaid intern—it may also be a sign that your boss doesn’t trust you with more important tasks.
So, what do you do if you discover that your boss secretly (or not so secretly) hates you? Well, the easy answer here is to start looking for another job, but if that’s not an option for some reason, try these steps:
- Confront your boss in a positive manner. Don’t add fuel to the fire by being defensive, but bring up your concerns. Approach the conversation from the angle that you want to improve and evolve as an employee—and that you can only do so with feedback.
- Document your successes and your boss’ slights. Start a little brag book where you write down and document the things you do well, contributions you make, etc. This will be useful when you have your next performance review, or if things escalate to talk of termination. In addition, you might consider keeping a list documenting your boss’ behavior in case you need it for the same reason.
- Talk to HR or your boss’ boss (assuming the boss in question is not the owner or CEO of the company).
- If all this gets you nowhere then a final resort might be to consider taking outside advice.
Remember, we’re all human, and personality differences happen. But if your boss is letting his or her own dislike or prejudices against you interfere with your work and the work of your team, you should take action.