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How to Be Nice to a Boss That You Hate

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Whether due to personality clashes, differences of opinion or discrepancies in values, you won't always like everyone you work with -- including bosses, supervisors and managers. If you hate your boss, going to work can feel like a dreaded chore. But fighting the situation will most likely make it worse. By taking proactive steps to change your mindset, you can turn a negative situation into a positive learning experience.

Act "As If"

Acting "as if" is a technique commonly promoted by mental health professionals to help clients make positive changes to their attitudes and behaviors. It means adopting the behaviors and mindsets you'd like to have so you can get through difficult or anxiety-provoking situations. You can't change your boss's behavior or personality; fighting with him will only add fuel to the fire. Sometimes, you have to "fake it 'til you make it," especially if finding another job isn't an option. You don't have to love your boss, but smiling, acting with dignity and being as pleasant as possible can help you get through your day, says certified executive coach Sandra Crowe in her book,"Since Strangling Isn't An Option... Dealing with Difficult People: Common Problems and Uncommon Solutions."

Vent Outside the Office

Although it might be tempting to badmouth your boss to co-workers or others at the workplace, avoid gossip and vent your feelings in a safe place -- outside the office and with people you trust, says career consultant Scot Herrik in an article for his website, Cube And don't post insulting comments about your boss or workplace on social media sites or any other place where your boss might see them. Express your frustrations and anger with a close friend, family member or mental health clinician. Sometimes, talking about difficult feelings with a neutral, unbiased party, like a psychologist or counselor, can be cathartic and help you develop a healthier perspective.

Adopt a Healthier Outlook

Working with a boss you hate can sometimes be a blessing in disguise, because it gives you an opportunity to refine your people skills and learn more about yourself, says career coach Chrissy Scivicque in The more you learn to tolerate difficult people and situations, the better equipped you'll be to handle similar situations in the future. By examining your boss's negative or irritating traits and habits, you can also take a look at the ways you might be exacerbating the situation and decide how to change your interactions for the better.

Focus on Performance

Focusing on your work performance instead of on your negative feelings toward your boss can create a positive shift in your relationship. This change creates a transactional relationship, says Herrick. Your relationship shifts from a focus on personal feelings and confrontation to a focus on completing transactions -- the specific tasks and responsibilities you need to perform each day. You don't spend time ruminating over the interpersonal problems between you and your boss -- you adopt a strictly professional attitude. When your boss sees that you're so focused on your work, he might also develop a more helpful, professional attitude toward you.


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.

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