Any job, whether it fulfils you’re wildest hopes and dreams or just helps to make ends meet, can be a source of great joy or trepidation if you don’t gel with your team. There’s the one who wastes paper, the one who can’t turn on their computer, the flirty one with the way-too-tight trousers and the one who knows everything about everything no matter what the subject. But they are all small fry if you have difficulty with your manager.
We spend a lot of time at work and a lot of time at home. If either of these sanctoms are governed by an emotional terrorist, there’s going to be conflict and that’s not easy to deal with when you’re an intern, a newbee or just like to avoid conflict at all costs like me. In fact, it’s never easy to deal with and, whether your superior is overbearing, micromanaging or just plain disinterested in your existence, don’t let it drag you down because we both know that you are awesome.
Instead of hiding under your desk every time you hear their footsteps approach, look at the situation objectively. Detach yourself from your emotions for a few moments. Ask yourself, who am I dealing with here? Are they just busy and stressed? Is there a cultural/generational issue? Do they respect strength of character? Do they need a cookie? Try to identify what your boss expects from their team, decide whether that’s reasonable and arm yourself with a matching strategy.
For example, your micro-managing boss rewrites your emails and covers your reports in red ink (perhaps they were an English teacher in a past life). You can either get offended each and every time they do so until you hate their guts, or you can start accepting that it’s going to happen, whether you think it’s necessary or not. If you let go of the emotions attached to this kind of interaction (irritation, frustration etc.) you can free mind and soul and come up with a strategy.
Dealing with your boss, without making it personal, liberates you from constantly feeling negative about your workplace. Show them your progress before finishing a report next time and there might be less red ink burning into your eyeballs at the end of it. Micromanagers need to feel like they’re on top of everything, so help them to do so and frankly, they won’t get on your goat so often.
At first glance, this does sound like advice from a dedicated conflict-avoider and it is, but there is a definite line which shouldn’t be crossed. If your manager calls you into the office at 2am because they can’t find the stapler, don’t go. Instead, work out what kind of personality traits you’re dealing with and be ready to act in a way that makes your life worth living. If you have a point to make about unfair practices in the office then make it. Sometimes even an emotional terrorist needs someone to stand up to them once in a while. Otherwise they get bored.
Article by Laura Hemmati, Cofounder Leadarise