What is the best way to deal with an unfriendly boss?

Friday August 16 2019

Moses Ssesanga

Moses Ssesanga 

By Moses Ssesanga

My boss is not friendly with us workers. How can I approach him? Omoding

Dear Omoding,
The situation you are describing of an unapproachable and unfriendly boss is a manifestation of leadership capability gaps in your organisation and specifically, in your boss. The boss was not adequately prepared to take over leadership and management of people before being appointed to supervise others. It is self-defeating for a boss to be unapproachable and unfriendly to the people they lead and still expect to get results from them. Your boss does not understand his interior profile and how his behaviour impacts and is perceived by the people he leads. A leader’s major role is removing barriers to performance and creating enablers for the people they lead to release their full potential and perform to their best. These leadership skills have to be purposely imparted to the boss through training and exposure, before he is appointed to lead others. Clearly your boss’s unfriendly and unapproachable behaviour is a manifestation that the critical people management skills are lacking.
You should consult a few of your fellow workers and then seek audience with your boss to discuss the issues that are of concern to all the workers. Do not raise complaints on the boss’s personality or behaviour. You must focus the conversation on issues and throughout, assure the boss that you are seeking his/her guidance. However unfriendly they may respond, you should stick to the issues.
If that approach fails, then you are advised to seek guidance from your HR on how to give feedback to your boss. You should inform your HR in confidence that if he was to conduct a random employee satisfaction or engagement survey, he would clearly see the impact of the boss’s behaviour on the morale of the workers. The HR should hence be expected to professionally intervene.

Moses Ssesanga
Head Human Resource
NMG - Uganda