My manager doesn’t like me – 5 tactics for how to change this
Having the thought ‘my manager doesn’t like me’ every time you see them is a horrible feeling. Being able to have at least a reasonable relationship with your manager is so important for many reasons, including:
- Your happiness at work
- What work and projects you get involved with
- Your career development
- Your promotion and bonus prospects
Knowing what actions to take to improve how much your manager likes you can give you a big confidence boost, reduce the stress of situations where you interact with your manager and make you more positive about your work situation.
This article covers:
- 10 signs your manager may not like you
- Build a professional relationship first
- Be Good At What You Do
- Make sure you are not the problem
- Help Your Manager be successful
- Be A Problem Solver – Bring Solutions
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There is a lot you can do to quickly and proactively change how much your boss likes you. As harsh as it sounds, don’t expect your manager to change – work on what you can do to change how you view and approach this important relationship.
10 of the more common signs that my manager doesn’t like me
- You don’t get any feedback
- You can’t get your manager’s time
- You are micro-managed and are shown very little trust by your boss
- You are left out of important meeting or important information is not shared with you
- You only get negative comments or criticism from your manager
- You are treated differently from others in the team
- You are overlooked for interesting projects or opportunities to build your skills
- Your manager doesn’t want to get to know you or doesn’t appear to be interested in you on a personal level
- Your manager doesn’t appear interested in your career advancement
- You get low bonuses and are not being considered for a promotion
You may be working for a difficult manager or even worse a toxic manager in which case your colleagues would also be experiencing many of these signs.
If you are experiencing the above signs and these are NOT being experienced by your colleagues, then you are right to think that my manager doesn’t like me.
In this situation it’s up to you to improve the relationship with you manager. It would be nice if your manager also worked on improving the relationship, but you shouldn’t expect this – it’s your career that is absolutely going to be affected by a manager that doesn’t like you. Your manager’s career might be inconvenienced at worst by a team member not liking them. It’s this big imbalance that means you should take ownership of the relationship – it is 100% in your best interests to do so.
Let’s take a look at what you can proactively and practically do.
Build a Professional Relationship First
You must adopt a positive mindset towards your manager. If you don’t like or at least appreciate your boss, it will show. Most people don’t like other people who clearly don’t like them.
Mentally focus on what your boss does well rather than what they don’t. Keep reminding yourself of their positive attributes. Keep a positive attitude towards them. And I appreciate this can be very hard to do when you feel my boss doesn’t like me.
Focus on building a professional relationship first rather than a friendly relationship which will give you confidence and take some of the hurt, annoyance, and stress out of the situation.
The bottom line of building a professional relationship with your manager is to ensure you are doing at least an average job – preferably a good job. Next, that you are displaying a positive team focused attitude combined with positive supportive behaviour. Go out of you way to support your manager.
If you are not doing at least these, then building a professional relationship is going to be hard.
Your mindset and attitude are huge factors which impact how you do everything at work. Work at building a positive approach and mindset first and foremost. Your mindset is entirely within your control.
I appreciate that this is not easy if you constantly getting the thoughts that ‘my manager doesn’t like me’ or worse, they are being a difficult manager too. Do whatever you can to develop a positive mindset and keep working at displaying this with your manager and with your colleagues. It will pay off.
5 signs of a professional relationship include:
- You trust each other and work to support each other and the team
- You respect each other, your respective strengths and abilities, and what each of you bring to the team
- Both parties are self-aware and work to keep the relationship strong and productive
- You have Open communication – you share information, views and opinions, anything that will help the other person do their role well
- Honesty – both parties are honest with each other, providing useful feedback, ideas and suggestions to improve what the team does
Take the lead with your manager and work on each of these from your side, regardless of what your boss does. Keep at it and your manager will find it very hard not to reciprocate with similar behaviours.
Be good at what you do
Doing the best job you can is a massive part of your manager liking you. The better the job you do, the less your manager has to do themselves, the less they have to worry about and the less you will have time to worry that my manager doesn’t like me.
It is hard to dislike or be difficult towards a person who is doing a good job and doing it in the right way. Work hard to do the best job you can.
8 actions for you to focus on to do a good job:
- Make sure the quality of your work is to a good enough standard or better
- Pay attention to the details of your work which is a good way to move your output from okay to good
- Meet the deadlines agreed to deliver your work
- Manage expectations of your manager carefully – keep them informed of where your work is and let them know well in advance of problems or changes to when you can deliver
- Find out from your manager exactly what their expectations are from you – the tasks and projects as well as the how these should be done i.e your approach and behaviours
- Look out for problems and issues within the team and think through at least one practical solution, and then make sure your manager is aware of the issue and your suggested solution
- Help you team members to meet their deadlines – after meeting your own of course.
- Ask your manager if you can take some of the tasks they don’t like doing away from them
If you are not doing a good job, you are going to be causing a headache and problems for your manager. If this is you, it should not be a surprise you feel that your manager doesn’t like you.
Do the best job you can and work to be good at what you do while supporting your manager and the team around you.
Make sure you are not the problem
When you are annoyed, frustrated, angry or worried and you have an external reason for those feelings it is really easy to ignore what you might be doing to create – or make worse – the feeling that my boss doesn’t like me.
Take an honest a look in the mirror. Think about your actions and behaviour towards and around your manager. Think about which situations you feel my manager doesn’t like me.
Early in my career, I had a terrible manager. I didn’t know what to do about it and so I did nothing. I didn’t communicate with my manager much and concentrated on doing my job hoping the problem would go away. It didn’t and my actions or lack of actions made the situation much worse than it needed to be.
Don’t make my mistake.
A checklist of things to avoid doing include:
- Not proactively keeping your manager informed about what you are doing
- Doing a bad job – mistakes, missed deadlines, poor quality work requiring rework, etc
- You complain publicly or privately at lot or only state the negative side of a situation
- Having no or little understanding your manager’s expectations when doing your work
- Not creating excuses to meet your manager or pop by their desk. You can’t build a better relationship if you don’t meet with them face to face
- Having a negative mindset towards your manager or you catch yourself criticising them, talking negatively about them to others or thinking ‘I hate my boss’
- You only bring problems up with you manager and expect them to provide you with the solution
- You don’t visibly support your manager achieving their objectives or the team’s objectives
- You haven’t thought about what you can do to reduce your manager’s workload?
If any of this list applies to you, change your behaviour as quickly as possible. Tackle any of these issues proactively. Look for the positives. Bring solutions with the problems. Compliment your manager and team members for work well done.
There is lots you can do very quickly to change your own actions.
Make sure you are not the problem or the reason why your boss doesn’t like you.
Help your manager be successful
You might be thinking “why would I want to make my manager look good or be more successful when I don’t like my manager?”
Helping your manager be successful and look good in front of their peers or their manager – is a great way of getting into their good books. Who doesn’t like a person who is helping them look good!
Find out what success means for your manager.
Look up what the team goals are and work out how you can improve the results delivered against target – for one or more of these objectives.
Ask your manager what their objectives are so you understand these as well as the team objectives. Think about how you can help your manager achieve their objectives. You might be able to do this directly, or you might be able to help colleagues deliver, thus helping the team and your manager.
What problems is the team or your manager facing? How can you help come up with solutions and / or help implement those solutions?
When you start thinking and asking around, there will be opportunities for you to help.
Don’t forget to make sure your manager knows how you have been contributing – send then an email showcasing what you have achieved. Tell them in your next one-on-one meeting. Marketing your efforts with you manager is important too so they know you are helping.
Helping to support your manager is a must. If you are a high performing individual, it is even more important to support you manager directly and obviously. This reduces the risk that your manager might be threatened by you and dislikes you as a result.
Remember – it is very hard to dislike a person that is helping you be successful. Notice when particular signs that your manager doesn’t like you change to more positive behaviour from your boss.
Be A Problem solver – bring solutions
Every manager likes a team member that is a problem solver. If you are solving problems, there are less problems for the manager to solve.
As a manager, there is nothing worse than an employee always bringing problems without any attempt to think about a solution. This dumps another problem in the manager’s lap.
Every time you spot a problem, spend time working out at least one sensible solution. Then take the problem and the solution to your manager.
As a manager this is great. The team member has taken ownership and responsibility to come up with a solution. Whether the proposed solution is the final one used or not, doesn’t really matter. The manager has one less problem to deal with AND they have a team member proactively solving problems.
This is brilliant!
This approach also gives you practice at solving problems which is great for your own career development. Pay attention to the actual solution decided on by your manager if it different from the one you proposed. Ask them to take you through their thought process if appropriate so you can learn.
To be even more likeable, organise the implementation of the solution together with your team members or implement the solution yourself. This further reduces what the manager needs to do.
Be a problem solver and make your manager’s life a lot easier. Managers will love you and it won’t be long before even the toughest most difficult manager starts liking you a lot more. You’ll soon forget about having thoughts of my manager doesn’t like me and learn to manage your manager and your relationship.
My manager doesn’t like me: how to start making a change
It does take confidence to start each of these actions. If you are struggling with your confidence, please start one action and work on that. Doing so will give you some confidence. Then add another and so on.
Each of these actions work – I have used each of them for over 20 years on a massive range of personalities and over 30 different managers. They work.
Enjoy a better relationship with you manager.
A small number of managers I worked with didn’t like me much at first.
I was young compared to them, I had to prove myself in their eyes, or I wasn’t their first choice colleague on a personal level … there are loads of reasons why people don’t hit it off at first.
Follow the steps outlined in this article and you will put yourself in the best position to turn around their perception of you.
These same managers can become massive fans of you.
Don’t give up and do put into action these steps.