Thanks to one of our new Career Club members for this question – Joe from Melbourne in Australia.

Joe, the first thing I would do is to consider the following question – ‘how do you know that he doesn’t like you’? As in, has he told you directly, did someone else tell you about a conversation they were directly part of, is it a rumour, or is it a feeling that you get because of facial expressions or other cues? The answer will determine your next steps.

If he has said this to you directly, it would be interesting to know the context involved, but it is hard to imagine a circumstance where being told someone doesn’t like you is acceptable behaviour, especially for a manager or leader. Nobody should have to put up with any form of bullying in the workplace and whilst there is a lot of information I don’t have, there are few excuses that could make this reasonable. Managers and leaders need to be held to a high standard. At work, the only thing that really matters is whether you are doing your job and meeting your commitments. Whether someone likes you or not is not necessarily relevant. This article would be worth reading – The Most Important Skill You Need To Develop Right Now. If you secretly know that it might be because of something you did, you can of course go and make things right by having a conversation. You can also check out this article – What if your colleagues don’t like you in the Career Success folder (under Career Club).

If it is hearsay or a rumour, I would advise checking the facts first. One of the most common killers of team culture is gossip, because it is always second hand information. If you know the game Chinese Whispers, where a message must be passed along a chain of people, the message is almost always different at the end to what it was at the start. Participating in gossip is a team killer. Whilst I am not suggesting that you distrust everything you hear, it is worth checking the source of any information and if in doubt, and you have a good enough relationship with your boss, simply ask! If you need help with how to do this, get in touch with our team.

However if you are just getting a feeling that your boss doesn’t like you, one of the things I would encourage you to ponder is whether this is just your perception? As human beings, we are always making judgments about the facial expressions and body language of others. The reality is that we aren’t always very good at doing it well. When we make assumptions, we put ourselves in a position where we are creating a version of reality that may or may not be the same as the other person. They may actually feel like you don’t like them! The only way to clarify this is by having a conversation. And this means developing the type of communication skills that can deal with this type of conversation. It isn’t easy, but it is definitely possible to learn how. Sometimes, we create a problem that doesn’t even exist! It might also be worth checking out The Art Of Clear Communication in the marketplace.

Let us know if you need any further assistance Joe.