A huge factor that determines whether a person leaves the company is the relationship with their manager.
So, what can you do if you start to dislike your boss?

It takes courage and personal accountability to address a problem with the boss.

The research on employee engagement, and especially talent retention, shows the 'relationship with the manager' as being at the top of the list of reasons why people stay or go.

There's the old adage, 'people don't leave companies; they leave bad bosses'.

Everyone can likely give a few examples of how that adage has played out in their decisions to move on.


The manager shapes a person's day-to-day experience with the company, essentially the 'nuts and bolts' of the relationship.

This is why there's been so much focus on leadership development over the past two decades.

In a competitive market for talent, boards and executive teams are now obsessed with how to hold on to good people.

For many employees who are on the cusp, it boils down to whether or not they like their manager.

What happens if you start to dislike your manager?

There's usually a cascade effect into your level of respect for that person too.

It's rare when you like someone who you don't respect, and vice versa.

It can become a major source of stress if you neither like, nor respect the person who is supposed to be your major advocate in the company.


Unless you address how you're feeling quickly enough, the relationship is likely to spiral downward very fast.

If you really like the job and the company, then it's probably worth you putting some thought and time into what it might take to improve the situation.

If you decide to leave, you want to be able to say that you did everything you could to lean into the challenge, rather than avoid it.

Here are five questions to consider before you pull the 'exit' hatch:

1. Are you being objective about your manager?

Once you put a negative frame around someone, you are far more inclined to interpret their intentions and actions in a negative way.

The reverse happens when you like someone.

So, have you started to select data that reinforces the negative frame that you have them in?

Most people carry biases into a major decision to stay or leave a company.

Just be sure that you aren't using 'bad boss' as way of justifying your decision to take a better offer.

It's easier to think of yourself as a victim than as disloyal.

Is your manager really as bad as you've worked it out in your head?

2. Do you recognise that two people share the dynamic?
It's usually not intentional, but good people often get entangled in a bad dynamic with each other.
They both are inclined to see it as the other person's fault.
But a dynamic, good or bad, is something that exists between two people.
That means that you have to be willing to accept that there's something you may be doing to contribute to the problem.
Is there something that you need to work on?
It's no different in personal relationships.
Both people usually have some role to play in what's going on.

3. What are you really frustrated about?
If it's a personality clash, then maybe there's room for a reasonable degree of tension, which may require some 'give and take'.
We certainly make that work with our loved ones.
If it's a clash of values, especially those that put you or the business at risk, then the issue goes deeper to one of principle.
It could be that your manager has taken you out of your comfort zone in order to grow your skills and confidence.
Personal stretch can be stressful if you're not getting the support you need.
If you can dig into what's got you frustrated, there may be something specific you can do to address it.
Try to get your head around what the issue really is.

4. Have you had a candid conversation about how you're feeling?
This goes to the heart of whether you believe you've done everything you can to resolve the situation in a way that leaves you feeling empowered about the final decision.
Don't wait for your manager to initiate the conversation.
Chances are they already know something's bothering you anyway, but haven't figured out how to raise it.
You might have to take the lead, particularly if it's that important to you.

5. Have you gone over the slippery slope?
Sometimes you get to the point where you know there's nothing you can do to change your mind.
Be honest with yourself if this is the case.
But also have the courage to do some personal reflection about what happened.
How did you get to a place of no return in the relationship?
Is this a pattern?
What will you do differently the next time?
Finally, if you're a manager who believes that one of your employees is trying to find a way to talk about your relationship, then make it easy for the person to do so.
It takes courage and personal accountability to address a problem with the boss.
The best outcome is when both people enter the discussion willing to listen.