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Some thoughts on life, purpose, leadership, ministry and some other stuff.

Managing Horrible Employee-Employer Relationships-Part 1

Businesses are run by people. No matter how much of an introvert you are, as long as you are in a business place, employee-employer relationships are inevitable. These relationships are one of the relationships that span the full range of possible relationships, probably because of the different kinds of people aggregated under one umbrella and the diverse roles and functions of the very many people. One of the most difficult relationships there is to manage in a workplace is that with the employer relationship, and even more one who doesn't just like you or your work. I heard a story of a lady, Lisa, who didn’t understand why nothing seemed to please her boss, at least nothing she did. She was one of the best interns during her time, and the company did the logical (and wise thing) to hire her. Her acceptance letter provoked mixed emotions because, for one, she knew this was the job for her and on the other hand she was going to put up with Frank every day for the foreseeable future.

Her first few months were not a surprise to her. She continued delivering above expectations. Every client she ever worked with had nothing but good words to say. In the eye of the common co-worker, it would not be a surprise to see her rise to manage the place. She was good. But she had one problem, her boss was just difficult.

The tricky thing about employee/employer relationships is that you are in with people who usually have no emotional attachment to you. By emotional, I don’t mean anything bordering on romance, but just an awareness that the man or lady you are dealing with is human. In very many office relationships the binding factor is the ‘bottom-line’. If a head has to roll to achieve the quarterly target, then two can be spared. We have called this ‘cut-throat’. And it almost comes to that, literally.

If you are going to keep coming back to an unfriendly station, or meet with inhospitable faces every morning, there must be a way to navigate through the days, weeks and months.

How To Deal With A Horrible Employer-Employee Relationship

Your employer is not your husband/wife, boy/girlfriend or lover. He or she has no emotional obligations to you, except what is expected of any human dealing with another human. You must learn to take your emotions into your hands and be responsible for how you feel. Nobody should have such powers over you, except it is reciprocated. Don’t go to work expecting to have your emotional tank to be full. Arrive the office full!

Don’t take it personal. I have a favorite saying: “The issue is the issue, and the person is the person.” No matter how much criticism you have to accept, reasonable or not, you must be able to protect the core of your person from being affected. This is harder than it sounds. Passionate people are usually driven by their emotions and if it attacked for any reason, there is a tendency to take it personal and shrink under it. This lesson must be learnt: don’t let the criticism and harsh words rip up the core of your person.

Discover and utilize your vent. It is easy to get wound up when working with people, especially people that are never satisfied with you or your work. It could be listening to music, taking a short work, watching some comedy or reading a book during your break. Whatever your vent is, discover it and use! We all need to unload  and unwind  sometimes. Warning: do not vent during office hours or let your venting take up your office time and duties. You are being paid to work; get the work done!

Don’t complain to other co-workers. Like I earlier stated, your emotional tank is not supposed to be filled with interpersonal relationships in the office. Talking to your co-workers is not going to help. Your ‘confidant’ might just use your complaints to kiss up to your boss. Ever heard of office politics? The idea is that you don’t let the emotions that balance you as a person be dependent on people who are more concerned about a bottom-line than they are about how you feel. Vent to someone outside of work, that is the better thing to do.

Don’t entertain side-talks. Just as I advice you do not hire an ‘in-house therapist’, don’t entertain any poison talk. In trying to get on your good side or for whatever dubious reasons, people will come to you to discuss your predicament. This is usually the case if the maltreatment is obvious to all. Dismiss any side-talk. It’s no use. It will only fuel your rage and distract you from your work.

We will continue on discussion on managing employee/employer relationships in the next post.

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