How to tell if your boss hates you
It is quite common to see experts writing about toxic bosses, bad bosses and the like that create a hostile work environment. What happens when that bad boss hates you? Hate is such a strong word and the perpetual optimist I am at times has a hard time believing that people can actually expend so much energy on not liking and even hindering the progress of other people. Signs that this is true may be very subtle and you may think you are making too much of things. Here are some signals you can look for to prove that you may not be crazy and your boss really doesn’t like you.
1. Your boss has a hard time communicating directly with you.
Do you find your boss can’t look you in the eye? Or does your boss use other people to communicate with you and avoids you for the most part? This may be a clue that your boss may be harboring some negative feelings toward you. As the saying goes, the eyes are the window to the soul and unless your boss is just incredibly shy, something else may be going on there that your boss is trying to hide.
2. You are excluded or overlooked for opportunities.
This is a big one and can really be very painful and frustrating, especially when you are ready to grow and elevate. It may not matter how well you do or how hard you work, you are always looking at the proverbial carrot dangling before your eyes. The slang in The Bahamas describes that as ‘selling dreams’. Simply put: you may keep getting made promises that are never kept. You never get the raise, promotion or trips. You are just never good enough to be invited or exposed.
3. Your boss doesn’t listen to you.
I have had this happen to me more than once: in a meeting and the boss doesn’t pay attention to you at all. Checking the phone is more important, checking emails, taking calls, interrupting you…the list goes on. It seems that after only a few moments of you talking, your boss’s eyes glaze over and get focused on something else. Some people are just rude; others are wired that way and can’t pay attention. The busier people get, the less focused they appear to be and it takes a lot to get them to stick and stay for more than five minutes. Funny how other people can get their interest very well. That’s some of the things that make you go, “Hmmm.”
4. Your boss doesn’t trust your word or your work.
Does your boss second guess your recommendations or opinion? Your boss always has to check over your work before you send it out. Or maybe your boss wants to be copied on every email you send. This becomes glaringly obvious when your ideas are constantly checked, questioned or even dismissed. What makes it worse is that someone else may make the same suggestion and your boss thinks it’s brilliant.
5. Your boss gives you work that is under your ability or overwhelming.
This is another tactic that may be a sign your boss does not like you. You may get work that is super simple or beneath your capability; in fact, it is quite insulting to your expertise. Or, you may be drowning in work while your counterparts have support, assistance, and even a manageable workload. That could be a red flag that something is amiss.
If you are experiencing two or three of these signs, there may be fire where the smoke is. Add good old intuition and the case is sealed. I know I have even had dreams about people that didn’t like me at work and if I didn’t have the dream, I never would have known because there were no real outward signs of dislike. Your next question is probably, “What do I do if my boss hates me?” The answer isn’t always that cut and dried. First instinct may be to confront it head on. It may work as well as it may not. If your boss is ego-driven, confrontation may make things worse. Another solution may be to find a trusted advocate who may be able to speak with the boss on your behalf. Another may be to transfer out of that work area or even leave the company. One thing that is certain: it is always best to make decisions that are grounded in fairness, balance and wellbeing for yourself and your career.
• Simmone L. Bowe, MSc, SPHRi, is a seasoned human resource and organization development consultant & trainer, speaker, author, personal development coach, mentor and activist who focuses on helping business owners, leaders and professionals ‘live limitless’ by identifying purpose & vision, aligning to purpose through authenticity, and breaking free of limiting mindsets and practices. For comments, queries, strategic solutions and bookings, email firstname.lastname@example.org.