We all want to get on in life, and most of us want to get on well with the people we work with. Conflict and personality clashes at work can be challenging, they can affect your productivity and the quality of your work, as well as causing stress and unhappiness that you can’t always leave behind when you head home at the end of the day.
There are various ways of dealing with such problems if they arise in your relationship with a workmate. These might range from a frank and informal chat about the issues raised to more formal conflict resolution. If the worst comes to the worst, one of you may be transferred to a different department, so that you no longer have to work together. But what can you do if the conflict is with your boss? That is a situation that none of us want to have to deal with.
The person you work for is entitled to your respect, and you need to be able to accept their authority and carry out their instructions promptly and accurately. You need to be able to trust their judgement and to feel that they trust you. But if that bond of trust and respect breaks down then working effectively can become virtually impossible for both of you.
Stay calm and professional
In any work situation it’s important to stay professional, no matter how the other party is behaving. That means not responding emotionally or losing your temper.
If there is a specific problem, try to raise it with them in a direct but diplomatic manner.
If you feel that they are behaving in a way that is consistently unprofessional or inappropriate, keep a written record of the incidents, with dates and times. Try not to do anything that would put you in a bad light, as they may try to use this against you at a later date.
Training can help
Staying calm and unemotional is easier said than done, especially when your boss seems to have the full weight of authority on their side. It’s easy to back down or to lash out in anger and frustration. Happily there are specific online training courses to help you deal with a nightmare boss by building your self-confidence and giving you practical strategies to avoid being drawn into their destructive game-playing.
Talk to someone
Talking to someone outside of work can help you to gain a better perspective on the situation.
If you feel bullied or belittled then you may need to step outside of the situation for a while in order to regain your composure and assert your own value. Speaking to a representative of your trade union may also help you reach a practical solution.
Difficult employers are nothing new but they are always a problem that we can do without. Sometimes issues can be resolved, but sometimes it is better to just walk away and get a different job. If the matter is serious, don’t be afraid to take it up with a higher authority, either within the company or, if necessary, a regulatory body or even the police.