LIKE OIL AND WATER

Q: My new boss and I have a mutual dislike for one another. Can we still work well together?

A: "Yes, as long as there is a mutual professional respect between the two of you," says Angela Hash-Clark, senior vice president and partner in Environment 2000 Inc., an executive search firm in Charlotte, North Carolina. "This is the most important element of any work-related relationship."

While it may be tempting to avoid people you dislike, that tactic might not be best in this situation. Give it a year for the situation to get better. It may just be a matter of adapting to a new managing style. However, if you feel that the interpersonal relationship is negatively affecting your productivity, try these steps.

  • Do a self-evaluation to ensure that you aren’t contributing to the problem with substandard job performance, for example. If necessary, consult a neutral third party, such as the human resources manager, to provide an objective assessment.
  • Sit down with your new boss and discuss your concerns. Be honest, tactful and stick to the facts. Try not to bring up any presumed hindrances or opposition.
  • Consider an internal move to another department with another boss. Conduct an external job search to find employment elsewhere.
  • Keep detailed documentation of any practices and/or behaviors that you feel impede your productivity, as well as any feedback or comments regarding your work performance. It can be an invaluable tool if your work is ever called into question.
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