The relationship you have with your boss can be a major factor in determining your destination on the career ladder. It can be a wellspring of growth possibilities if nurtured properly or a career minefield if left to go sour. Thus, developing a good relationship with your boss is your best job skill and highly useful one, no matter where you work.
Note: In order to be consistent, I will use the term “boss” throughout the post. It can be interchanged with superior, manager etc. (Ideally, it is the person who you report to.)
1. Be an asset to your boss
You need to be an asset to your boss, if you expect him/her to be an ally to you. Bosses seek individuals who are self motivated; one who gets the work done right and completed on time.
This might seem like painfully obvious advice for developing a solid relationship with your boss, but it bears repeating. You need to understand that building good relationships won’t take you anywhere, without adequate job performance.
2. Observe and understand your boss's work style
Taking the time to learn your boss’s work style, will go a long way to making your life much easier.
* If your boss has said repeatedly that he hates being interrupted first thing in the morning, don't run to his office to give him a project update when you first get in.
* Notice your boss’s mode of communication. Does she communicate with staff mainly through email and written communications or does she prefer face to face discussions?
* Learn the behavioral clues that tell you when the boss is in a bad mood. Avoid escalating the situation.
What other things can you discover about your Boss?
3. Realize that you boss is human too!
Each individual has strengths and weaknesses and your boss is no different. Figure out your boss’s blind spots and weaknesses, then see how your skills can help fill the gaps. Try to do this with genuine generosity and tactfulness, not letting on that you see these weaknesses.
There is no doubt that bosses also make mistakes; your boss won’t always have all the answers. There are things which he/she will have to do for the first time and trial and error is always part of it.
Also, keep in mind that your boss has a boss too! Just may be that his/her boss is hard to get along with or has unrealistic expectations!
4. Don’t bad mouth your boss
Regardless of how you feel about your boss, don’t share your negative feelings with others in the company. The things you say in private have a way of making themselves known to the wrong people.
If you find something uneasy about your boss, it is always better to have a ”private chat” with him/her.
5. Manage conflict and disagreement.
Arguing with your boss over every request is not a good strategy, but neither is agreeing with everything your boss says. Show enthusiasm for your work and speaking up when you see room for improvement.
If you ever feel you are being unfairly treated or criticized, discuss your concerns rationally with your boss in a non-confrontational way.
6. Be responsible
Take responsibility for your own actions. Be sure that you're the one that tells the boss you have made a mistake. We all understand that mistakes happen, so when you are wrong, admit it and move ahead.
7. Communicate effectively
Some bosses are very hands-on, keeping close tabs on you throughout your workday. Others may talk to you once a week or less often and send you on your way to do your job. Whatever your boss's style, keep your boss informed.
* When you receive a new assignment, make sure you know what is expected of you. I
* Admit when matters are beyond your control. It is never a weakness to ask for help when you need it
Typically it is up to you to establish and maintain the lines of communication between the two of you.
In summary, a good relationship produces a productive and communicative working relationship. It ensures you both know what is possible and feasible, ultimately achieving results that matter to you both.
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