Humans are social creatures that thrive on working toward common goals, and the workplace is no exception. Working together often brings people together, creating camaraderie and a sense of purpose. But what happens when a coworker has goals, viewpoints, and approaches that conflict with your own? And how do you handle the situation if the person you're at odds with at work is your boss? When we don't agree, we have to find common ground before we can move forward. Usually, it's not that difficult — we find a way to communicate our needs and resolve our differences.
However, a personality clash with your boss can be very tricky; if you and your boss simply can't see past your differences, it can make your life difficult. So how can you learn to live with — and take orders from — somebody with whom you disagree? How can you get your job done and move forward without betraying who you are? Read on to find out.
3 Tips for Dealing with a Personality Clash with Your Boss
1. Have some perspective
You're at work because you need to make a living and to do so, you must help this company reach its goals. Whatever happens between you and your boss, life must go on. Don't let the situation affect you so much that you give your power away, lose your perspective, and potentially make a foolish, short-sighted decision. Remember, work is work, and sometimes you just need to put your head down and do your job, whether or not you like the people you work with.
It's hard to fire someone who continues to add value to the business, so work hard and always be on time. If you are in an ongoing personality clash, you don't want to give your boss any ammunition against you.
2. Understand your boss' communication style
This is very important because if your styles are very different, it might be hard to get along, which won't help your chances of advancing in the company. Some bosses are intuitive -- they may want the big picture ideas and not want to hear the details. Other bosses are analytical and want to see numbers and data. Others still want/value emotional intelligence and want to know and understand how others feel.
If you and your boss struggle with communicating, what you can do is train yourself to speak and think in your boss' communication style. Doing so will help you understand the best ways to share ideas with them and get your point across.
For example, if your boss is an analytical person, train yourself to think in numbers and metrics. Or, if your boss wants to know the big-picture solution to a problem, don't wait until the end of a 30-minute presentation to deliver your conclusion. Instead, present your recommendation first and then explain the details of what needs to be done to accomplish that goal.
These changes might not come naturally to you at first, but the more you practice and receive positive reactions, the better your relationship will be and the less likely you are to experience a personality clash in the future.
3. Work hard and document your work
It's hard to fire someone who continues to add value to the business, so work hard and always be on time. If you are in an ongoing personality clash, you don't want to give your boss any ammunition against you. Also, keep track of all your achievements, positive feedback, and metrics that show the results of your hard work.
Having a record of these will help you to show you've consistently done your job well in the event your boss ever tried to terminate you. It's also a good idea to sit down with your boss to clarify their expectations and outline your goals, so there is no room for misunderstanding.
What Not to Do if You Have a Personality Clash with Your Boss
Don't be impulsive
If your boss says something that upsets you, don't respond in anger. Always think before you speak. You don't want to say anything you'd later regret, or that could be used against you. and if the situation has to be escalated, at least it won't look like you're the problem.
Don't get emotional
If you have to confront your boss, don't make it personal and don't let your emotions get the best of you. Use specific examples of situations you've recorded and talk about specific issues you have. Your problems with your boss' personality should not come into the conversation. Stay as positive as possible.
Not every personality clash can be resolved, and sometimes finding a new job – and a new boss – might be the best option.
Don't forget to consider your options
Finally, ask yourself one question: How badly do you need this job? If your boss is asking you to do something that betrays your ethical principles or your core character, looking for a new position might be your best bet.
Don't neglect to update your resume
As indispensable as this position may seem, and as impossible as a career change may look from here, jobs come and go. Employees leave positions and find new ones every day, and if thousands of others can make this change, so can you.
Not every personality clash your boss can be resolved, and sometimes finding a new job – and a new boss – might be the best option. Keeping your resume up-to-date means you'll never miss out on a great opportunity. LiveCareer's professional resume builder can help you create fresh application documents in minutes.