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By American Counseling Association
Special to Village News 

Reducing conflicts with your boss


Last updated 11/30/2019 at 10:37pm

If you’re in a work situation where you have a strong, positive relationship with that supervisor or boss above you, congratulations. While it does happen, it is not always the case for many people in their jobs.

Good relationships with a supervisor require effort on the employee’s part, but it’s effort that pays dividends. Studies have shown that one of the most important things affecting someone’s job performance, stress levels and overall job satisfaction and happiness is the relationship they have with the person above them.

An employee’s work relationship will usually improve when they take a more proactive role in creating that relationship. They can start by trying to understand what is important to them as a person. Are there pet peeves or things about the department or company that matter greatly to them? Is the boss stuck with having a difficult boss?

A basic rule is to try to understand what the supervisor actually expects from their employees. It isn’t always obvious. The employee may need to ask questions and seek clarification. Does they value timely reports, meeting deadlines and showing initiative? Is a certain dress code important? Are there things that may seem trivial personally but that matter to them? Understanding what’s important to a boss makes it easier to meet those goals or to discuss alternatives that will keep them satisfied.

It also helps to be flexible and understanding. It may not be clear why a meeting was rescheduled or that deadline moved, but it wasn’t done simply to upset employees. Understand that bosses also face deadlines and pressure. Most bosses appreciate employees who can accept that there was usually a good reason for the changes.

It’s important to open up communication. Take the initiative. Keep them up to date on how things are progressing and make it easy for the boss to talk. Share ideas and concerns and give weight to the things that trouble the boss.

Employees should make building a positive relationship with a boss part of their responsibilities. Recognize that it starts there. No one is capable of changing another person, only themselves. Working to establish a relationship with a boss that shows the employee understands, and flexibility can lead to a more positive, enjoyable work environment where sharing ideas and positive accomplishments can flourish.

Counseling Corner is provided by the American Counseling Association. Send comments and questions to [email protected] or visit the ACA website at


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