[LTR] If you are a manager or supervisor and feel that you are not liked on the job or that people talk behind your back, you are probably right. It's not that you are a bad person- rather, it's simply that dislike for the boss is extremely common and, equally important, your task is an exceedingly difficult one. I suppose the first reason for disliking a boss is very simple- we all have an ego and very few of us like being told what to do. And yet telling people what to do is a boss's job so right off the bat being the boss and being liked at the same time is something of a conundrum.

In fact, obeying authority is not really in our nature- instead we submit to forces greater than us for unavoidable reasons. So doing what the boss says is often more akin to submission, sometimes even humiliation, rather than a spirit of cooperation. It would be an exaggeration to say that it is always like this with bosses, but it is often enough to make it a major point.

Another factor is fear. Most people who have jobs don't want to lose them. Obviously, those people who do not have a particular need for any given job will probably move on or quit fairly quickly. Since you as the boss have a great influence as to whether somebody will lose their job or not, there is a great deal of fear among workers that if they aren't always busy doing their job to the best of their abilities, they might get fired. Plenty of workers spend their time on the job scoping to see if the boss is watching. It is also hard to talk to the boss in a natural way. After all, if the boss dislikes you, he may try to fire you.

So many people end up just faking friendliness to the boss when their true feelings toward the boss as a person are ambivalent and confused. Finally, everybody hates an angry or screaming boss. They also hate jabs or put-downs from the boss, even if the boss didn't mean any real harm. My advice? If you're a boss, be fair, careful, and kind and remember it's getting the job done that counts and that human beings are doing that for you. And you may have to be a little thick-skinned. That's the price of bosshood.

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