What do you do when your new boss hates you? I'm actually going to use a case study to answer this question today. True story: it happened to one of my clients, Marissa (not her real name). Keep reading or watch the video below...

Marissa had been working on her career in retail management for many years. She was really successful. She was happy with where she was professionally. She was a regional manager of a national chain of department stores. She was enjoying all the rewards that her hard work had brought to her so far. She was respected. Everybody in the company, from accounting to sales associates on the floor, knew and respected her. She was proud of her reputation, and she was a well-liked boss and colleague herself...

...Until her own director, the VP of sales, retired, and someone new was hired. Let's call her Victoria. She was from outside the company. When Marissa came to me, she was on the verge of quitting her job. She had a beloved career, but she was applying for a transfer, and she had a well-established life and career, but she couldn't handle it anymore. Something wasn't working with her new boss, Victoria. You see, Marissa was convinced that her new boss, Victoria, hated her. It was clear in her head that from day one, that woman had not been impressed by her personality and where most people were calmed by her warm nature and responded well to her requests, her new boss was really cold and unapproachable, and she seemed to not appreciate much of Marissa's work. Her comments were just perfunctory at best. This is pretty much how Marissa felt:

Even worse, the VP was actually on friendly terms with many of the other managers. It was just with her. It seemed that Marissa was rubbing her boss the wrong way, but she didn't know what she was doing wrong. Marissa was so used to being liked that the new VP's rejection really got under her skin. She started comparing herself to her colleagues who were somehow able to charm the new boss, and she was beating herself up because she was falling short. She would leave a meeting with Victoria feeling unprofessional and embarrassed. 

Victoria had studied at a very prestigious university, and Marissa was starting to think that compared to the new VP, she was kind of stupid, so she tried even harder to look really smart and more interesting, but it was kind of turning the VP off even more. Marissa's confidence plummeted on a daily basis. It was going lower and lower, and she was beating herself up. After a few months of working with her new boss, she was positive that it was better to leave the job. She hated the job altogether now anyway, and she was not the nice confident person that she used to be. She was now a grumpy, stressed out version of herself, and she did not even recognize herself. She was stuck on that downward spiral of self-criticism, the negative self-talk that I talk about all the time.

So through our work together, Marissa started to recognize that the negative self-talk that she'd been engaging in was based on her perceived rejection from her new VP, a person who she thought was crucial to her own success. And she was so stuck on trying to find a reason why Victoria didn't like her that she forgot to ask herself the real question. Instead of asking: "Why doesn't she like me?" She had to ask herself: "Why would she like me? Did I give her a reason to like me?" People are not born into this world with the sole purpose of liking you. The VP was hired to do a job. Yes, she should be nice to her staff and her employees, but her job is to complete specific tasks and fill different functions and roles. Sometimes, you have to do something on your end. And it starts with stopping telling yourself in your mind that this person hates you, because it's not a good way to start a relationship.

We started to examine the dynamic more closely. Marissa saw that Victoria had not actually done or said anything negative to her. It's just that she was not very reactive in a warm way like Marissa was used to, like her old boss. With that knowledge, Marissa could turn off at least the negative self-criticism, because she was making up a lot of it. Did she herself know anything about the new VP? Had she tried to learn something about her new boss? Somehow, she was not trying to be nice with her boss because she was sure that she hated her. If someone outside of you is not interested in you, you have to try being interested in them first, because once you are interested in them, then they might start being interested in you.

Once Marissa put aside her negative self-talk and began to show genuine interest towards her new boss instead of just trying to win her over, then they became friendly and they even found some things they had in common. A while later, Victoria told Marissa she had felt very intimidated by Marissa because Marissa was her top manager. That's why Victoria had not acted super warm, because she was herself intimidated.

Sometimes, you can do a lot more about a situation when you start taking responsibility and asking yourself the right questions. "Well, what have I done for them to like me? Have I done something for them? Have I been nice? Have I stepped up? Have I asked to be on a team to help them out? Have I stayed later one day to help them out?"

I thought this example would show you how sometimes, that negative self-talk even overtakes the perception of what's really going on in a situation, and it can really hinder our ability to act from a place of confidence. So hopefully, this helps you a little bit on how to regain back your confidence if you imagine or believe that maybe somebody doesn't like you!


People don't leave their job, they leave the co-worker they can't stand or the boss they don't respect.

Download your FREE copy of the THINK Yourself® A RELATIONSHIPS PRO Daily Reference Guide and get to know the four types of people around you. Sometimes, you can do a lot more about a situation when you start taking responsibility and asking yourself the right questions.

The Guide includes:

  • What are the four Personality STYLES?
  • What does each STYLE intent, seek and desire?
  • What are each STYLE's strengths and weaknesses?
  • What does each STYLE dislike?

Check out some of my previous blog posts...

I Was Lying! - Pet Peeves

He Got Stabbed in the Back - Emotion Control Strategy

What Leaders can Learn from Celebrities' Moms

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