Question: What should you do when you and your boss don't get along?


They say people don't quit their jobs -- they quit their bosses.

But is that the only solution when there's serious friction between you and your boss? What can an employee do to make work more pleasant (and maybe even reverse the cycle) when he/she doesn't get along with the boss?

2 Expert answers


Unless the employee feels targeted for some reason or a recent issue has been handled in an unprofessional manner, most relationship issues are a matter of differing perspectives.  Personalities aside, the best way to address this problem is to have a conversation with your boss.  Don't be confrontational, simply express a desire to be more effective and build a stronger working relationship.  Then, let your boss say what's on their mind.  If the issue is too severe for a face-to-face chat, elicit the help of the HR department or a colleague who has a great relationship with your boss.  Sometimes, seeing what others do will help you understand what you need to do.


Not getting along with your boss is a catastrophe but so is losing your job.

The problem in creating an answer for you is there are many reasons why people don't get along and it's your job to find out quite specifically what you do that is irritating your boss.  You must also try to figure out what your boss does that irks you.  

If you're lucky, and real communication is possible, you will discover one or both of you have behaviors or habits that irritate the other.  With awareness, it's not easy but it is potentially doable to change behavior and habits.

If, on the other hand, the problem lies either of your or  your boss' personality or values, or a combination of the two, I recommend you start looking for a job yesterday because personality and values are part of our core and are fairly unchangeable qualities.    

If personality and/or values are the primary reasons for discord between you, get out of the situation you're in because it is a Bad Fit and it's most unlikely you can change the relationship and make it satisfying to either you or your boss.

Dr. Judy Bardwick