What You Can Do If Your Boss Doesn't Like You

A boss scolding a young employee and pointing at her across a desk.
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Do you feel like your boss doesn’t like you? Is this making work difficult for you? Sometimes you can change the situation and improve your relationship with your boss, but sometimes you can't.

There are some steps you can take if you feel your boss does not like you and you're in a difficult situation at work. Read below for suggestions on improving your relationship with your employer, and having a more enjoyable and productive time at work.

Ask If Others Also Have Problems

The first thing to consider is whether it's just you who is having a problem with the boss. Are there other colleagues who report to your boss and have more positive relationships? Is there a different approach that they are taking or anything you can learn from their performance? Try and get advice from those around you.


If it's not just you, you could be working in a toxic workplace. Here are signs to look for and suggestions on how to handle the situation.

Look At Yourself 

Consider if it is possible that you are avoiding interaction with your boss or unconsciously conveying bad feelings due to your assumptions about how he or she views you?

It is natural for us to act more coldly toward people whom we think might not like us, and then they, in turn, might act more coldly toward us. Try breaking the cycle by finding the opportunity to engage your boss and to show respect and positive regard in small ways. You may be able to turn things around by making an extra effort to be nice.

Improve Your Performance 

If you think your boss doesn't like you due to performance, then you can act to alter that perception. Make sure that you update them continually on your activities and accomplishments, so they are aware of your contributions. Have a frank discussion about areas of potential improvement and enact a plan to address these issues.

You might even ask for more frequent performance evaluations until you and your boss feel that your performance has improved. Most employers will appreciate that you are taking the initiative to become a stronger employee.

Consider Leaving Your Job

Sometimes there is just a poor personality mix, or your boss is a jerk—or worse, a bully. When all efforts to fix your relationship fails, then it might be time to consider alternative employment either in another department or with another employer. In this case, be careful not to act out in any way that might precipitate an untimely firing.

Maintain A Positive Boss-Employee Relationship

Also, recognize that you might need a reference at some point in the future or a prospective employer might conduct a background check and reach out to your boss. So continue to work hard and maintain high-performance standards while you investigate options.


If you do decide to leave, make sure you remain professional and cordial in your resignation letter.

Also, on job applications and interviews, do not dwell on the negative aspects of your job and your employer. If you complain about a past employer, the interviewer will likely side with the boss and assume that you are difficult to work with. 

It's always better to keep it positive during a job interview. You can do that by focusing on your accomplishments, qualifications, and what you have to offer the prospective employer.

In Cases of Employment Discrimination

Sometimes, a boss might treat you a certain way for unfair, even illegal, reasons. In this case, you might consider taking more serious action.

Employment or workplace discrimination occurs when you are discriminated against because of factors, including your race, color, religion, sex, or national origin. This kind of discrimination is illegal, and this law is enforced by the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC). It’s important to note that there are many other types of workplace discrimination not covered by the Commission.

If you feel that you are being discriminated against, you can file a complaint with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission. It is illegal for an employer to mistreat you after you file a complaint. However, keep in mind that this is a very serious step. Before filing a complaint, you can also speak to your Human Resources department to get advice.

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