Your boss probably has the ability to make or break your career, so if yours doesn't like you, it could easily spell trouble. For one thing, you might lose out on promotions or raises, but on a basic level, having a troubled relationship with your boss can make coming to work a miserable daily affair. That's why it pays to make an effort to change your boss's thinking. Here's how to start.
1. Figure out what the problem is
It's easy enough to operate under the assumption that your boss is just a grouch who frowns at everybody he sees. But chances are, there's a specific reason he dislikes you, and the sooner you figure it out, the greater your chances of changing the situation. So spend some time thinking about the areas of your performance that could use improvement. Have you been showing up late? Making errors on key reports? Cracking too many jokes during meetings? Think about your behavior over the past number of months and see if changing aspects of it does anything to improve the relationship.
2. Be generous in offering assistance
Just as you probably have a lot on your plate work-wise, so too does your boss. So if you're looking to get on his good side, figure out what's monopolizing too much of his limited time and offer to lessen the burden. For example, if your boss spends hours each week preparing presentations, but you're much more adept at graphics than he is, offer to compile some slides for him. If your boss hates writing, volunteer to be the one to document process changes as they happen. If you're able to make your boss's life notably easier, he'll no doubt come to change his tune.
3. Give him space
While it's smart to offer up your services when your boss needs the help, don't make the mistake of going overboard. In fact, it's wise to limit your interactions with your boss so that you're not constantly in his face. If you need his input and it's not urgent, use email rather than picking up the phone or marching over to his office. And when you are face-to-face, keep those conversations brief and to the point. There's no sense in spending more time than necessary with your boss if you just can't seem to get along.
4. Address the elephant in the room
If addressing your personal flaws, being undeniably helpful, and keeping your distance don't help change your boss's mind about you, you might need to be bold and face the problem head-on. This means sitting your boss down, letting him know that his opinion of you is obvious, and asking what you need to do to get it to change. Your boss might deny the fact that he doesn't like you, or try to sugarcoat it, but be persistent. Explain that you're really looking for your relationship to improve and insist on concrete suggestions you can work on.
5. Ask for a change
There comes a point when you can only do so much to get someone to like you -- including your boss. If, despite your best efforts, you just can't get him to change his opinion, sit down with HR and ask for a transfer to another team or another manager within your team. You might even try suggesting this to your boss directly if you're not worried it'll set him off. If he's at all reasonable, he might agree that it's the sensible thing to do without taking offense.
Though you don't need to be friends with your boss or even enjoy each other's company, your relationship needs to be cordial enough that you can work well together. Follow these tips, and with any luck, you might soon get back in your boss's good graces.