WORKPLACE / SEP. 09, 2014
version 2, draft 2

How to Handle Conflict With Your Boss

Being able to effectively deal with customer problems seems like a normal part of many careers. Yet, it’s just as important as being able to effectively deal with your boss. Very often, there will be times when you don’t see eye to eye with your supervisor -- over work projects, deadlines, or even client issues. 

Why all the Conflict with the Boss? 

Conflict is not something in the workplace that just occurs out of thin air. Generally speaking, it rears its ugly head when two personalities clash or objectives are not clearly communicated in a respectful way. When conflict happens with your boss, you need to know how to cope with it so you can maximize your professional potential as well as your career success.

Read on for some steps to managing conflict with your boss, so that you both win in the end, with these helpful steps. 

Step One – Know When Conflicts Could Occur

When you know when conflicts are going to occur, you can better prepare for them. You may sense that a problem is about to happen by listening to you instincts. For example, if you know that changes in job responsibilities, management changes, or any other stressful event is about to take place, you can expect conflicts to occur. However, it is up to you to take the upper hand, anticipate the problems, and address them before the conflicts arise. Be proactive rather than reactive. 

Step Two – Communicate With Your Boss

The majority of the time conflicts could have been avoided with your boss if you just communicated with him from the start. It may seem intimidating to reach out to your boss, since they are the boss, yet remember they are a person just like you. Regardless, of what type of career you are in, communication is key to resolving and avoiding conflict.

Success Tip:
Use the communication style that your supervisor most likes to use for improved discussions!

Step Three – Be Open to Feedback

Sometimes conflict arises with your boss because you simply do not want to accept their feedback. If you are someone who is defensive or feel threatened when someone is telling you something, conflict is going to occur. Instead, when your boss gives you some feedback do not take it as them trying to belittle you. Look at it as an opportunity to improve your work and possibly get that promotion you are longing for. A positive attitude can go a long way. 

Step Four – Never Think the Conflict Will Disappear

You should never think that the conflict is just going to go away. While it is true that the conflict may die down for a while, what is really happening is it is being buried and it could turn into something more insidious. Furthermore, the person who feels as though the conflict has not been resolved is still holding a grudge and their original feelings could resurface at any time, even if it is not an ideal time.

Step Five – Try to Create a Solution Where Everyone Wins

This goes back to the communication step. You and your boss have to sit down and talk, while putting everything on the table. The conflict may be something as simple as a miscommunication and it can easily be resolved when clarification is provided.

With the way the economy is now, you do not want to have unresolved conflicts lingering with your boss. Remember, they are the boss, which means they decide if you get promotions and more importantly, if you keep your job. The last thing you want to do is have tension between the person who holds your professional career path in their hands. Use the above steps to remove any conflicts with your supervisor now rather than later.


Image Credit: © 2014 Full Rights Author Purchased Image/BlueSkyImages -


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