Boss Clashes: How To Survive Personality Differences

Boss Clashes: How To Survive Personality Differences

Of all the relationships important to any employee, getting along with your boss is top of the list. This person is key to your career growth, your paycheck, and those all important references needed for the next job. If not a necessity, working well with your boss is a smart step for everyone! Following are some suggestions for turning difficult relationships into better ones.


1. Accept your relative roles of power and position

Just as you can’t change most people, you can’t change your boss. Further, the typical workplace hierarchy means your boss has more control and authority in the relationship than you do. Learning to accept the power differential rather than fighting it is a good first step in building better rapport. This mental transition from changing people to accepting them will open many doors. Don’t fight the boss’ position power; work within it.


2. Consider your differences in personality focus

What is DISC?  -  A behavioural styles assessment that describes four main styles:

D = Dominance,
 I  =  Influence,
S = Steadiness,
C = Conscientiousness.

Talent Tools  distributes Extended DISC Products and provides a variety of  Extended DISC Certification Training and Workshops

The boss with a “Steadiness” style will tend to focus on maintaining the status quo, reinforcing existing customers’ satisfaction, and avoiding radical shifts. If your style is more Dominance or Influence, you like change, seek new challenges, and view risks as opportunities. These opposite tendencies may cause you to view the boss as wrong or weak, rather than simply different.

Try to realign yourself with the boss’ overall focus and management practices. Either adapt your own needs to the overall work environment preferred by your boss or demonstrate how your needs can be met within the boss’ parameters.


3. Articulate your frustrations in business terms


Even when you are very frustrated with your boss, it is wise to avoid being openly critical, hostile, or angry. Don’t criticize people, solve problems. Don’t assume your boss can read your mind. Take some time to re-state your frustrations in terms of business impact.

Business impact means describing a work result. “It is hard for me to respond to your spontaneous queries. I don’t want to provide incorrect information that could create problems. If you could give me more time to think through your questions, I could provide more reliable data and help keep us on track.”


4. Be willing to find the middle ground

Sometimes it is possible to find an acceptable compromise. Start by just doing what your boss requests. This demonstrates that you can and will follow through on your end without whining or challenging unpopular assignments.

Let’s suppose your boss requires detailed monthly reports that you feel are a waste of time. Rather than trying to get the reports eliminated entirely, think of ways you can complete the reports with greater efficiency. This approach sends a message that “I am trying to work with you and accomplish your requests with improved results” rather than an irritating message like “I think these reports are stupid.”


5. Remember, it’s not all about you

While you only have one boss to manage, your boss has an entire staff to manage. Subordinates often can’t see or understand the pressures, demands, and stress that descend on their superiors. While it seems like any supervisor or manager should be spending most of the work day … well, managing employees, this is often not the norm.

Don’t take it personally that your boss has limited time for your problems. Use your time together wisely and focus on moving forward in your relationship.


6. Make your differences a strength, not a weakness

In the best of relationships, differences are viewed as assets, not liabilities. Start looking at your personality differences as a blessing, not a curse. Where your boss has difficulties, you may have strengths.

Ask yourself how you can save your boss some time, relieve some pressure, or handle a least favored task. Suggest options, shortcuts, or answers your boss hasn’t thought of. Adapt your personality to make your boss’ life easier.

If you can use your skills and behavioural style to balance your boss’ skills andstyle, you will be on your way to replacing a stressful relationship with an outstanding one.

To find out more about howto improve workplace relationships and reslove conflict using 
 Behavioural Styles, simply contact Talent Tools by
email or phone 61 7 3103 0177


Author: Adapted from the work of Kaye Sullivan, M.A.

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