This can be very awkward, as your manager is probably well thought of, or they wouldn’t be in the position they are. And you can’t really go round the office asking if everyone finds them as difficult as you do!
But if other people have had a problem you will eventually become aware of it, as you pick up the clues dropped, then you can discreetly do a little detective work.
So once you have established this is a difficult person, you need to look at several courses of action, and take steps to reduce the impact on you both personally and professionally. At the very least working in this situation can impact negatively on your work performance, and can make your life miserable.
So you need to try to work out how to work more effectively with your manager.
1. Make sure your Performance is Beyond Reproach.
You need to do this for two reasons- first; maybe you are not achieving the results they expect from you. Make sure you are clear on what that is. And secondly, to have a rational conversation with them you must be able to defend your work and show they are being unreasonable.
2. Try to understand them.
Maybe they are having a difficult time at home –divorce, illness, money worries? Maybe they are working under tight deadlines and what seems to you to be impatience is merely a reflection of what they need to achieve for their manager. Spend some time observing them and try to understand their motivation and reasons for their actions.
3. Don’t be intimidated.
Often, when we don’t get on with someone, we go out of your way to avoid a confrontation with them. But what if the problem is miscommunication? You need to communicate more, not less. Make sure you have clarified what is required each day or week, or before you start a project.
4. Ask for Feedback and Review.
If they express dissatisfaction, ask for an explanation. Be careful not to aggravate the situation or create a hold up if there is a tight deadline, but ask for a review of the issue later. Maybe you can uncover a misunderstanding
5. Make Yourself Indispensable.
Be the best support for them that you can, at least in the short term. If you’ve exhausted that route you need to consider your options, but give it your best shot first. Raise your level of problem solving and support. Ask for clarification before you begin a job to ensure you are on the “same page”. Better results from you may take the stress off them and things may improve as they become more reasonable.
6. Ignore the Hassle.
Maybe this is just a difficult job in a difficult department. As you get more adept at the job you may begin to enjoy the challenge, and be rewarded for your efforts!
7. Accept that You May Have Opposing Personalities.
You might expect to exchange a little small talk to build a working relationship. To them, that might be a waste of time. They may not be very outgoing or just operate differently than you’re used to. We all have our own personal style, and you may need to learn to live with theirs.
8. Stand up for yourself.
Once you have established yourself in the job and proved yourself indispensable then you can start to defend your corner, quietly pointing out that you have done as asked, this is an addition being asked for now, or that the time constraint given you simply won’t work for reasons A, B and C . Maybe they will back down. Perhaps they didn’t realize how much pressure they were putting you under. Maybe no-one challenged them before. You can begin to earn their respect by pointing these things out now, and get them to modify their behaviour. You can turn a bad situation around, but it does take time and effort. Maybe you will soon work well together.
9. Find out how you can help.
Let them know you would like a more peaceful existence and see if the two of you can plan your way out of the problem. Maybe if you begin the week with an assessment of your workload and divide it up, you can work together better.
10. Take action.
If you have exhausted all of the above, then perhaps it is time to move on!