Q: I am at my wit's end. I have a great job. I'm challenged and feel at the top of my game in so many ways. Here's my problem. I can't stand my boss and I'm quite sure he feels the same way about me. We don't communicate well and he is always criticizing me despite the fact that my colleagues tell me how much they value my work. He's dismissive and a terrible listener. I really don't want to look for another job. What should I do?
Patty F., Des Moines, IA
A: You are in a situation that over 50% of people experience at some point in their careers. Unfortunately for many of these people, a poor boss relationship caused them to leave their job, whether voluntarily or involuntarily. Just as with any relationship, there are always two perspectives.
You don't mention your communication style or how you react to your boss' dismissiveness or poor listening skills. Communication behavior can become habitual, particularly in negative situations. The next time you feel as if your boss is communicating with you in a way that makes you uncomfortable try responding differently than you have in the past.
As difficult as it may be, you should ask your boss if you can set up a face-to-face meeting to discuss how you can work together more effectively. Just because he's your boss doesn't mean he's comfortable initiating this kind of conversation. If he resists doing this, then it may be that you will need to talk to his boss. However, you should only go over your boss's head when you truly believe that you've done everything in your power to change your behavior and work on your relationship with your boss. It certainly sounds like it's worth the effort. Good luck!