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Improving Working Relationships with Colleagues

‘I hate my boss.’ The relationship between you and your boss is one of the most important relationships in the workplace. But what do you do if the relationship between the two of you is under strain? Are you putting up with it? Are you waiting for your boss to move job first? Are you thinking of leaving yourself? Discover how you can use this experience to become a bit braver in the workplace.


Imagine your boss in ten years’ time sitting in a chair with grey hair, wrinkles, a bit of extra body fat and fast asleep …. Yes quite, bosses in general are quite harmless!


For you and your career it is important that you don’t get caught up in whether you love or hate your boss. It is easy to get upset by the things the boss says or doesn’t say and to start to notice your boss’s many faults. This only tempts you to either feel inferior or superior and that doesn’t resolve anything for you. Could you start to look at things in a different way? Could you start to use this experience to your benefit?


Let’s take a closer look now.


Relationships become strained if you take things too personally or if you are trying too hard to please your boss, so let’s consider how you could become bolder. Listed below are a few ways for you to loosen up and create a better atmosphere for yourself within the workplace. This isn’t about lying, stealing or rule breaking but about using your initiative to get on better with your boss or perhaps just realising that you are happier than you think you are.


  1. Ask yourself, ‘What is your boss really looking for from you?’ Forget the past and focus on the solution. You will never solve anything if you think about your past anguish. How could you step out of your boundaries without going in the wrong direction? What is the ultimate goal of the project you are working on? Is this what you are working on?
  2. Ask yourself, ‘What more could I do here?’ Have you got too comfortable in your job? Are you just doing what is laid down in your job description? Do you go beyond the call of duty? How could you expand, extend and go outside the parameters of your job description to make a better impact?
  3. Ask yourself, ‘What is the solution to the problem with the boss?’ Step outside of the box for a second. Have you become too predictable? Are your ideas too safe? If your boss is irritating you by having late meetings, do you need to suggest an early morning meeting to break the pattern? If your ideas get shot down, do you need to figure out how to re-package your ideas in a less threatening way? Or offer something in the standard and the more experimental way.
  4. Ask yourself, ‘Do I share the glory?’ Bosses don’t like to be out of the limelight because they can feel jealous, threatened or even overwhelmed. Have you gone out of your way to acknowledge your boss and to share the glory? Have you reminded your boss what you have both achieved?
  5. Ask yourself, ‘Have I become tricky to manage?’ Bosses don’t need to be given a difficult time. Employees who perform well and who are easy to manage receive all the rewards at work.


Let’s see how you can be braver in the workplace.


You can turn this relationship around quickly and easily. The trick is to take the first step and you will start to feel more comfortable.


  1. Stop sharing the negative things about your boss with your work colleagues. Sharing negative stuff about your boss only alarms your colleagues that you feel the same way about them too. Instead focus on all the positive things that your boss does. You are going to shelve the negative from now on.
  2. Do something stunning that gets everyone talking. What could you do that generates some excitement?
  3. Give your boss something he/she can visualise. Begin to highlight your value and worth to your boss. If there has been a 10% increase in sales this month, send a memo out letting your boss and colleagues know about it.
  4. Focus on your boss’s need more. Ask your boss each week, ‘What could I do this week to make your job easier?’ Let the tension between the two of you dissolve by focusing on what is important.
  5. Dare to take a short cut. You have seen others do it haven’t you?
  6. If you and your boss have fallen into a rut and you would like to change things Sarah Berry’s new book, ‘How to love the job you do‘ will help you to put the spark back into your job.


See also Building Self-Esteem at Work


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BY: Sarah Berry

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