How to Deal With a Manager Who Dislikes You
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Despite your best efforts to be pleasant and friendly, it's unrealistic to expect that everyone you work with is always going to like you. When your manager isn't your biggest fan, dealing with the situation might be harder than if the same attitude comes from a peer. You might not be able to change your manager's behavior or feelings, but you can change your response and the way the situation affects you.
Assess the Situation
Sometimes, it might truly be the case that your manager dislikes you. But taking an objective look at the situation might help you gain a more different perspective. If you happen to be oversensitive to criticism, you might superimpose feelings onto your manager that aren't really there. You might misinterpret your manager's sideways look or raised eyebrows as a sign that he doesn't like you. If you feel comfortable doing so, ask a trusted coworker whether they've noticed your manager's negative attitude or disapproval of you. Write down the things that your manager says or does that tell you he dislikes you. Discuss these points with your spouse, partner, family member or friend to see if they agree with your assessment.
Examine Your Behavior
When you suspect that your manager doesn't like you, it's often helpful to examine your own behavior, advises human resources expert Suzanne Lucas in an article for CBS News MoneyWatch. Perhaps it's possible that you're coming across in a negative or argumentative manner. Or, you might be subconsciously adopting a defensive stance toward your manager when he asks you to perform certain tasks. Examine your behavior closely to determine whether your actions are somehow playing a role in the situation.
Focus on Your Work
Focusing on your work when you think your manager doesn't like you might actually help change her mind, says workplace health expert Brandon Smith in an article for Georgia Public Broadcasting's "The Workplace Therapist." When you throw yourself into your work and try to do the best you can, your manager might realize that you are a valued employee. Arrive on time, don't spend too much time socializing, and finish assignments and projects by their due dates. Your manager still might not like you, but he may develop a greater sense of respect for you and possibly change his attitude.
You can't make everyone happy -- and you can't make everyone like you, no matter how hard you might try. If you've done your best to address the situation, you may just have to accept reality. In an interview with American Public Media's "Marketplace Life," workplace expert Alison Green suggests trying to focus less on changing your manager and focusing more on yourself. Figure out the ways you can be more productive and happier at work without wasting energy on changing your manager's opinion.
Ashley Miller is a licensed social worker, psychotherapist, certified Reiki practitioner, yoga enthusiast and aromatherapist. She has also worked as an employee assistance program counselor and a substance-abuse professional. Miller holds a Master of Social Work and has extensive training in mental health diagnosis, as well as child and adolescent psychotherapy. She also has a bachelor's degree in music.