How Can I Relate Better To My Supervisor?

Question to Ask the Workplace Doctors about fear of supervisor:

There are times when I feel that my supervisor helps me because he has to, rather than wants to. To me, it looks as though he wants to help everyone else. Recently, I figured out why. It was because when I talk, I sound as though I am afraid of him (like I hate him {which is not the case}). I also realized that there are times that I am afraid to be in the same room with him. I am making an effort to have better interactions with him, but, at the same time, I still want to remain professional and not get too comfortable with him. How do I go about doing this?

Signed, Looking For A Balance

Dear Looking For A Balance:

It may be that the problem is not with your supervisor but rather with your personal worries and fears about your relationship with him.You will probably find it easier to deal with supervisors and managers if you focus on work and let yourself relax and just have a cordial relationship that is no more or less friendly than other employees have with them.

It will also help to acknowledge to yourself that supervisors may feel more comfortable with other employees than with you, but not dislike you because of it. What they dislike is feeling they have to walk on eggs to avoid hurting an employee’s feeling or that they have to be absolutely equitable in their conversations, assistance or friendly conversations.

Supervisors mostly just want productive employees who behave appropriately. They are busy with their own work and don’t want to add to it by having to spend a lot of time reassuring or counseling an employee. Most supervisors sincerely care about most of the employees in their groups. If your supervisor has done something cruel, threatening or harmful, you are justified in feeling uneasy about him. If he hasn’t done anything mean, give him a break and let him do his work while you do yours. If he thinks you should communicate better with him, he’ll make the effort or talk to you about it.

Tina Lewis Rowe

Tina Lewis Rowe

Tina had a thirty-three year career in law enforcement, serving with the Denver Police Department from 1969-1994 and was the Presidential United States Marshal for Colorado from 1994-2002. She provides training to law enforcement organizations and private sector groups and does conference presentations related to leadership, workplace communications and customized topics. Her style is inspirational with humor.