I Hate My Boss: Tips for Dealing with a Difficult Supervisor
Edited By: Chérie M. Stanford
Whether it was a few minutes ago, two days ago, or two years ago, most of us have uttered the words: “I Hate My Boss!” Luckily I have had great relationships with most of my supervisors, which overshadows the challenges that I have had with the others. Recently I have had an increase in people voicing their grievances with their supervisors to me. Common themes have been micromanagement, lack of support, lack of trust, and their supervisor’s increased desire for control. In addition, they often feel misguided, overlooked and misunderstood.
Because we spend so much time at work, job dissatisfaction tends to seep into other areas of our lives. And it is difficult to be happy with what you are doing, when you are dissatisfied with your supervisor.
As a mental health professional, therapists are required to have reoccurring meetings with their direct supervisor to discuss administrative issues, clinical concerns, and any other problems that may arise. In mental health lingo these meetings are called supervision.
During supervision therapist have the opportunity to address these issues.
But what happens if you don’t feel seen or heard by your supervisor? What happens when supervision doesn’t go as planned or expected? Below are tips for people who have challenges with dealing with difficult supervisors.
Tips for Dealing with a Difficult Supervisor:
- Address expectations and concerns with your supervisor- Meet with your supervisor. During the meeting be respectful and professional, but be direct. You have to teach people how to treat you.
- Identify the root of the issue- Sometimes we’re projecting- displacing our own feelings onto others. We tell ourselves it’s them but really it’s us. It’s us projecting onto our supervisor the parts that we don’t like about ourselves.
- Identify outside support- It always helps to have a non-biased outside view from someone that you trust. Sometimes you are the problem.
- Increase peer support- Consult with your peers, in a professional manner, they may know the best way(s) to manage challenges with your supervisor. Peers can also be a great resource if you are not confident about something. Please do not make it messy!
- Remind yourself of why you do what you do- Sometimes we get bogged down with our work, and all that comes along with it, that we forget why we even took the job in the first place.
- Document, document, document! –Keep a record of conversations! You don’t want to find yourself in a meeting with HR and no paper trail to corroborate your claims!
- Leave work AT WORK! - It can be difficult to compartmentalize; however, it is necessary! It is healthy to have balance. You do not want to find yourself thinking about work all of the time, especially when you are at your mother’s birthday dinner.
- Develop a self-care routine- At work or at home, make sure that you are taking care of yourself! Burnout is REAL in EVERY field!