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Dealing with Bosses and Coworkers/Should you tell your friends your boss does not like you?


Currently I have some tension with my boss. We donít have a face to face meeting to discuss this but implicitly I know the tension is there.

And at least two other colleagues told me that my boss showed his dislike for me during conversations with them.

To reduce stress, I feel a need to tell this to my personal friends. But is it ok to do that?

Thank you.

Dear Liam,

Many thanks for writing to me.

Let me start by saying that I've been there, done that, and got the whole wardrobe.

Tension between bosses and employees goes with the territory.

Bosses have far more on their plates than most people realize.

Should you tell your friends? That rather depends on what good you think would come from it.

If it was so that you could all commiserate with one another about all the negative things about the job, the company, and your boss, then I don't recommend it. All that will do is make all of you feel worse. It will affect your morale and probably the standard of your work.

But, if you think that your friends will help you to identify a blind spot or an error of judgement in your performance, then tell them. Make sure, however, that you ask them like that. Say something like, "I heard the other day that Mr/Ms Whoever isn't happy with my work. Do you know anything about that?" And then just listen. Don't try to defend yourself. This is an opportunity to learn about how you can do better.

If your friends don't know anything, then blow it off. Say something like, "It doesn't matter. It's probably nothing." And then move the conversation to something else.

But neither you nor your friends should dwell on it. All that will do is foment animosity. And you must avoid that at all costs.

As for the tension that you feel, there are a couple of things you need to be aware of.

First, you're feelings are unreliable.

Sometimes they're right. A lot of the time they aren't. But you can't evaluate a situation solely on the basis of them. You have to look at the facts, and then ask yourself if your feelings fit the facts.

This is much easier said than done.

For example, you might be feeling a bit run down. Maybe you've had some stressful days. Maybe you need a little time off. Maybe you're getting a cold or the flu.

All of those things can make you feel bad; but not a single one of them has anything to do with what you're boss thinks about you.

If there are problems at home, then you'll have that sort of thing percolating in the back of your mind on top of everything else.

One of the best stress relievers is prayer. It calms you and reduces anxiety.

I recommend that you do this first thing in the morning before you go to work.

If you get the chance, then do it again in the middle of the day and when you can take a break.

And do it again before you shut off the light at night.

It doesn't matter if you think you're religious or not.

Research has shown that those who pray live longer and are generally happier.

Get yourself a Bible. Read Psalms 1, 23 and 139. Read the Gospel of John. I carry little pieces of paper in my shirt pocket with verses on them. I've found that just reading them periodically, any stress or anxiety I'm feeling goes away.

Your feelings can make you feel stressed without you even knowing why; and so it's useful to have some strategies in place so that you can apply them whenever you need to.

I also recommend that you take up some form of aerobic exercise. Research has shown that that, too, relieves stress.

You can damage your body, your mind, and your emotions if you allow stress and tension to build up. And intense physical exercise 3-4 per week even for just 30 minutes will make you feel alot better. Notice that I mentioned how you would feel.

You have to get your feelings under control. The reason is that they feed your thoughts.

If you allow yourself to feel tense around your boss, then you'll start to believe that there's a problem.

If you believe that there's a problem, then you'll start act as if there is.

You'll become over-sensitive and suspicious. That in itself is a problem.

The second thing you need to change your mindset.

When your thoughts are negative, it's all too easy to see everything else in a negative light.

You start to feel (there's that word again) that you're under-appreciated. You start to feel under-paid. You start to think that your boss hates you, and that everyone else is looking for a reason to stab you in the back.

And the whole time, none of those things are true.

So the way that you get out of the cycle is to focus on what you can do.

You see the tendency for most people is to focus on what they can't do.

Again: What I'm suggesting is not easy. It requires discipline.

But if you do it every day for at least three weeks, you will be amazed how things change for you at work.

People like to be around other positive people. They do not like to be around those who are negative all the time.

I'm willing to bet that you are the same way.

You want to be around people that make you feel better about yourself.

I've given you alot; but that's because I can see that you are headed into dangerous waters.

You need to change the way you think, evaluate your feelings on the basis of the facts, and put in some strategies that will help you to get everything into perspective.

And when you do that, then you'll find that the tension you're feeling right now will subside.

Cheers, Bruce

Bruce Hoag, PhD CPsychol AFBPsS
Business Coach

Dealing with Bosses and Coworkers

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Dr Bruce Hoag, CPsychol AFBPsS


How to retain top talent.
How to make your employees more productive
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How to make yourself more valuable to your current employer
How to manage your boss
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Co-wrote (with Professor Cary L Cooper, CBE) Managing Value-Based Organizations: It's Not What You Think, published in 2006.

Academy of Management, British Psychological Society

Leadership & Organization Development Journal,

PhD, Organizational Psychology, Manchester Business School

Awards and Honors
Chartered Occupational Psychologist & Associate Fellow of the British Psychological Society; Ezines Expert Author

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