Do you find yourself thinking “My boss seems uncomfortable around me. What do I do?” This is an awkward situation for you, your boss, and your co-workers.
The first thing you need to do is establish why things are uncomfortable between the two of you. You need to be able to work together. The following are seven reasons why your work relationship could be uncomfortable and possible solutions.
Why is it Awkward Between Me and My Boss?
1. Unintentional Dominance
Your actions at work may be well-intentioned, but they might be coming across to your boss as domineering. You may be inadvertently intruding upon their authority or overstepping your boundaries.
You’re trying to show your enthusiasm by tackling additional tasks or offering advice on a project. Unfortunately, your boss is seeing you as an employee who is overreaching their boundaries and trying to be dominant.
It’s important to learn how to demonstrate your commitment to the company while being respectful to your boss and all others in positions over you.
You can fix this by always making sure your actions fit within your job’s description and responsibilities. Don’t offer advice unless you’ve been asked to.
Respect the boundaries your boss sets. When you do take on additional responsibilities, clearly explain that you’re trying to contribute to the company’s success, not challenge your boss’s authority.
Miscommunication is often the cause of discomfort between a boss and an employee. When you’re working in a fast-paced environment, it’s easy for messages to be misinterpreted. This creates misunderstandings that result in your boss feeling uneasy because they’re not sure what your intentions are.
📌 To avoid this, be open when talking to your boss. Make sure they clearly understand your ideas and what you intend to do. Before ending a conversation, ensure that you’re both on the same page.
You can also get in the habit of checking in with your boss on a regular basis. This helps maintain clear communication and avoids misunderstandings. On your end, be an active listener.
Show empathy and understanding when your boss talks to you. You’ll be fostering trust through open dialogue.
3. Unresolved Problems
When a problem isn’t resolved, it causes discomfort. Your boss may have trouble speaking about certain topics with you, which makes them uneasy. This could be because of a past conflict, mistake, or other sensitive problem.
To correct this, you’ll need to find a safe space where you can both have an open conversation.
🗣️Encourage your boss to talk about any unresolved problems. Show them that you’re willing to address these issues and find a resolution by expressing yourself in a calm and objective manner, rather than blaming each other.
4. Conflicting Work Styles
If you and your boss have conflicting work styles, it can be uncomfortable. You may approach projects by being collaborative, while your boss is more direct. You may have innovative ideas, but your boss is conservative.
The best thing you can do is respect your differences. You need to be able to work together harmoniously, even though you’re different.
You may need to compromise on some things by understanding your boss’s point of view and adapting to that approach.
Offer to give your boss progress reports and updates in a manner they prefer. You’ll be showing them that you’re flexible and can work within their framework.
5. Personal Issues
Your boss could be uncomfortable because of personal reasons that are unrelated to you. They could be struggling through a rough spot in their personal life, which is affecting their attitude at work.
In these situations, you need to be supportive and understanding. Respect their boundaries and give them the space they need. Only offer to help if it’s appropriate, and avoid taking their actions personally.
6. Personal Attraction
Your boss could be attracted to you and it’s making them feel awkward around you. This can greatly interfere with your job because it’s important to feel comfortable enough with your boss to go to them with problems and questions.
It may be hard to do, and a little embarrassing for everyone involved, but you may have to have an open discussion with them to figure out if this truly is the problem. If so, you can kindly decline the offer of having a personal relationship and explain to them that you are focused on your career at the moment and find it important to maintain a strictly workplace relationship.
This is a very hard topic for many employees and bosses to discuss. In today’s world, it is important to remain politically correct and not offend others.
While this has created a much-improved workplace for many, it makes these situations even harder.
Clear the air with your boss and make sure that a simple compliment wasn’t misinterpreted at some point in time.
7. Personality Clash
Unfortunately, not everyone can get along together. We all have different personalities. Sometimes these personalities clash.
If you and your boss have personalities that clash, it can feel impossible to work with them.
It can even draw in co-workers, who will take sides in the conflict and create an even bigger divide within the team.
💡You have two solutions for this issue. You can both agree to disagree and work on being open-minded when it comes to the other’s ideas. This will take a lot of patience and self-control. Your other option is to move on. When you simply cannot get along with your boss, you may need to look for a new job.
If the clash is with a manager, you can discuss with the supervisor whether or not you could be placed on a different team.
The next time you are wondering why my boss seems uncomfortable around me, consider these situations and solutions. By recognizing the problem and confronting your boss with it, you can begin to move forward.