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Help! I Can't Get Along With My Superior-What Should I Do

Updated on December 25, 2012
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Grace loves to write commentaries on psycho-cultural and sociocultural dynamics in their myriad forms.


My Superior is a &%#@!

In theory, superiiors and subordinates are supposed to get along in the workplace. This interfacing between superiors and subordinates facilitates smooth professionalism in the workplace. However, reality, presents a different picture entirely. Sometimes superiors and subordinates do get along in the workplace and outside friendships are often formed. Relationships between superiors and subordinates can be a nebulous matter to navigate. Relationships between superiors and subordinates are important as they can make or break careers.

A good or at least cordial relationship between a superior and subordinate can result in career advancement because a superior can write good references and give good word of mouth regarding a subordinate which can easily facilitate his/her career climb within a company, institution, agency, or corporation. Furthermore, a subordinate having a good working relationship with his/her superior can also make his/career climb outside the place he/she works at an easy one with the process of the superior networking with other superiors outside the company. There is a truism to the saying, "It is who you know not what you know."

There are instances which a person who is promoted not possessing the necessary qualifications for the job; however, he/she has a good working relationship with the superior while a better qualified person was not promoted. This validates the point that a subordinate who has a poor working relationship with a superior will have a difficult time obtaining choice assignments and/or promotions. Oftentimes this person receives a less than effective evaluation because of a poor working relationshp with that superior.

When a superior does an evaluation, often personal likes and dislikes are influential in the final analysis of that evaluation. Although in theory, this is not supposed to be done, reality presents an entirely different matter. Oftentimes an excellent employee receives only an average rating in his/her evaluation because his/her superior has a personal animus against him/her.

There are varied reasons why there is a poor relationship between a subordinate and his/her superior. These factors include differing educational, socioeconomic, racial, ethnic, gender, and age backgrounds. Sometimes there is just a confict of different personalities. Many times a superior may dislike a subordinate if he/she is more intelligent and educated than he/she is. Oftentimes, the superior feels threatened by the subordinate and takes it out on him/her by giving him/her less than effective evaluations and by giving him/her the most undesirable and/or onerous assignments. This is a common occurrence in the workplace.

There is little that can be done if there is a poor working relationsip between a superior and a subordinate. Sometimes going to the union can rectify matters somewhat. But beware-a subordinate reporting a superior to the union can ruin the subordinate's reputation. He/she will be known thereafter as a troublemaker and this action can seriously hamper his/her career advancement opportunities. Truthfully, most companies, institutions, corporations, and/or agencies do not want a complainer and/or troublemaker in their workplaces. Sometimes the best thing in this situation is for the subordinate to transfer from that superior's department and/or unit or to look for employment elsewhere where he/she can fit into the working environment and work with a superior that he/she could get along with.

© 2010 Grace Marguerite Williams


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