Handling Conflict: Boss Edition

With the number of bosses that you will have throughout your entire career, it is more likely than not that you will run into a few that you just can’t seem to jive with. So, what do you do to keep your job and maintain a collaborative environment? Keep reading the exact tips and tricks you need to reach an effective compromise!

Handling Conflicting Views:

  • Implement the 24-hour Rule: Especially for those unavoidable days when nothing seems to be going your way, remember the value of the 24-hour rule. Although you might feel agitated or frustrated in the moment, by allowing yourself a day to cool down, you will be able to asses any given situation with a greater understanding of someone else’s perspective and with a clearer mindset. After 24-hours pass, you are in a much better position to take the action you believe is appropriate. This may mean confrontation, an assessment of what went right or wrong, the initiation of a discussion with your coworkers before management, etc… it’s all better than yelling out of initial anger!
  • Taking Stock of Your Strengths and Weaknesses: In order to get to the bottom of the conflict between yourself and your boss, circle back to your own strengths and weaknesses to find the root of your emotion. Are you being tasked with projects that take advantage of your strengths or weaknesses? Is your boss providing you with responsibilities because they see your true value and potential? Have you expressed areas of improvement with your manager? Tackling the root of your feelings by identifying why a given situation is making you upset will allow you to see the bigger picture of why you were given the work in the first place.
  • Preparation is Key: Before you initiate a discussion with your boss to tackle the conflict, make sure to do some prior research. Having the ability to enter a conversation with concrete examples of the gaps you’ve seen, or what has been causing your disagreement will make for a far more productive conversation. This is also a great way to prove to your boss than you’ve done your homework, have a basis of belief and key points to target for potential change.

In addition to these tips, make sure to always be cautious of your tone (avoid being accusatory!), facial expressions, body language, and pace (take a breath and slow down!). Conflict, as we know it, is a part of life that we cannot avoid! So, learning the strategies to handle it appropriately is your key to success.

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