During our careers, many of us have the opportunity to work for some great individuals and some…not-so-great ones. All these individuals help teach us about ourselves and develop our preferences through the years, in terms of what we look for (and avoid) in bosses. Healthy boss-employee relationships are critical as more often than not, people end up leaving their job not due to the company per say, but rather due to an unsatisfactory relationship with their boss.
Naturally, some people tend to endure negative work relationships and situations as long as they possibly can, by trying to convince themselves that it will pass or that it isn’t worth leaving a job just because of someone else. Unfortunately, it sometimes is “that bad” and it can become increasingly easy to lose sight of our personal limits as we deal with difficult individuals & situations on a daily basis.
Indeed, spending most of the week with someone we don’t get along with, will eventually lead to a series of negative repercussions, both personally and professionally. Not being able to foster a healthy work-relationship with the person in authority will never allow you to build the proper foundation for productivity and growth in the workplace. This being said, you need to ask yourself whether your level of frustration with your boss is acceptable or not. Here are some simple questions to ask yourself in order to determine whether or not it’s time for you to start considering leaving your boss:
- Do you get along with your boss? On a day-to-day basis, do you sense an obvious personality clash? No matter who we are, there will always be people we won’t like and with whom we are less likely to get along with. However, without being BFF with your boss, the problem comes when you are forced to interact and report daily to someone who you really don’t get along with. When asked about your boss, are you faster at listing what you hate rather than what you like about this person? If so, there’s definitely a problem worth looking into.
- Are your work styles similar or at least complimentary? You like to take risks, manage high level and move fast, but your boss likes to take it down a notch, do 360° risk assessments and evaluate all action plans in their most minute details. Does this type of contrast sound familiar? As long as your boss gives you the flexibility and the latitude to be yourself even if you have a different style, you’ll be fine. Research actually shows that it’s preferable to have differently work styles for teams to be effective. But the day that you have to massively alter your work style to adjust it to your boss’s preferred style, know that trouble lies ahead.
- Do you have clear guidelines and support in your work? Ultimately we all want to succeed in our work, no matter what it is that we do. However without guidelines, clear expectations and daily support in the accomplishment of set objectives, it becomes almost impossible to succeed. Do you know every day what you should be doing? Do you feel supported both through good and bad? Do you feel comfortable to walk into your boss’s office and ask for help or support for a particular situation? Remember that being aligned properly and receiving support on a daily basis from the person to whom you report, especially throughout challenging situation, are key drivers of overall job satisfaction.
- Does your boss appreciate your work and provide you with feedback? Everyone appreciates a nice pat of the back once in a while and it does wonders to motivation levels and overall job satisfaction. Additionally, constructive feedback is imperative for growth, development and the achievement of objectives. Do you remember the last time your boss made you feel great about something you did at work? Appreciation and feedback are to healthy boss-employee relationships as air and water are to all living things. There’s just no way around it.
- Is respect and trust built into the core of your work relationship? Respect and trust are at the foundation of all human relationships, no exceptions. Without them, constructive & productive relationships cannot exist and harmony and happiness at work become impossible to achieve. Why would someone in their right mind be happy to work 40-50 hours a week for someone they don’t respect or trust, or vice-versa? Why would you? Always keep a firm grasp on your limits and never put yourself in a prolonged situation where respect and trust are not present in your relationship with your boss.
So how to know if you should be considering leaving your boss? If you and your boss’s personalities and work styles clash, if you have no clear guidelines and support in your work, if you can’t develop yourself due to a lack of constructive feedback, and there is no trust or mutually respect; sadly, it’s probably time to seriously start thinking about leaving him or her. Whether it is through actions leading to reporting to a new boss within your existing company, or through efforts in seeking a new job and company, you probably need to start considering a move…sooner rather than later.
Don’t let the natural stress and discomfort of change make you over stay in a problematic work relationship, as whether you realize it or not, negative repercussions of growing proportions will be felt throughout all spheres of you life. We spend a large portion of our life at work, sometimes even larger than the time we spend at home, so happiness at work is not a luxury. It’s a basic human need and everyone should be entitled to it. So if you see growing red lights in this area, take time to introspect and listen to life’s message telling you to grab your courage by the collar, get out there and start looking for your perfect boss match!