Written by Catherine Adenle
Apart from yourself, your boss is the next most important person in your career. Like it or not, you are the one in charge of your relationship with your boss. The quality of the relationship you have with your boss will help you to achieve your goals. He has the information and the support that you need to succeed in your career. However, it goes both ways as your boss cannot do his job or accomplish his goals without your cooperation and help.
Remember, your boss is human just like you. So, expect that he is not perfect. If you are looking for a perfect boss that ticks all the boxes, you are living in a land of fantasy and you are better off being your own boss. Just like you and I, your boss will have his own bad days and he will make occasional mistakes too. Regardless, he is there to guide, support, coach, mentor and with you add value to your organisation. The relationship between the two of you is a special relationship. Managed well, the relationship can be rewarding. Managed badly, it could be painful. I see the relationship between a manager and his staff as a partnership – a partnership that is mutually beneficial in which both of you should respect each other.
Bosses come with different styles of managing and with all possible levels of skill and effectiveness. Some are simply bad; while others are self unaware and also lack how to provide what you need. Regardless, we still have to get along with our bosses.
If you want to get ahead in your career and stay sound in your workplace, you have to try and get along with your boss.
These are few tips to help you get along with your boss:
Know your boss: What kind of person is your boss and what does he like or dislike? What are his major pet peeves? Identify what he values in an employee and demonstrate it. Does he like frequent face to face communication, e-mail updates or an ad-hoc conversation as you pass him in the hallway? Trust me, your boss’s preferences are important and the better you understand them, the better you will work well with him. Be sure to explore what he fundamentally likes or dislikes in the workplace. Learn how to read his moods and reactions. This will help you to gauge when and how to approach him.
Have a positive attitude: Develop a positive relationship with your boss and your colleagues. From the onset, to your boss, radiate a positive attitude. Show your enthusiasm for his ideas and have them well researched and the reasons why you think any idea proposed by him might not work and politely present your case. However, you don’t have to be a ‘Yes’ employee to be positive.
Show that you trust your boss: Demonstrate that you trust your boss. Let him know that you will help him to shine and achieve his objectives. All relationships are based on trust. Do what you say you’ll do and do it when you say you’ll do it. Deadlines are important especially if your boss’s objectives depend on them. Never surprise your boss; he should always be the first person to know what is going on. Keep him informed of your projects, any necessary updates and collaborations with the rest of the organisation.
Be a resource: Whatever you do, don’t be the one with the problems but be the one with the solutions. Make it your duty to be aware of your boss’s objectives so that you can help him to shine. Ask him for the best way to support him and do your possible best to make sure that you meet your own objectives cascaded down to you from his. Anticipate your boss’ needs and keep your finger on the pulse of things for him. Become his best resource person and not the pain in his back side.
Respect leadership: Show your boss through your behaviour that you respect his leadership. Don’t contradict him, steal his thunder or go over his head. Respect hierarchy and any communication channels set by your boss.
Do your work and ask for feedback: Don’t brownnose, instead be genuine and do your work and be your boss’ best supporter. Respect yourself and do the work. While at it, remember to ask your boss for feedback on your performance twice a year. Allow him to play the role of coach and mentor. Encourage him to offer you recognition for your performance. Make a list of your accomplishments and share them with him.
See the video below for some more tips on how get along with your boss.
The steps above will help you develop a positive, ongoing, rewarding and supportive relationship with your boss. However, they might not guarantee your success especially if you have a boss who is clueless, but they should certainly improve your odds.
Further reading: Get to Know Your Boss’s Boss
Are there any other tips you can share with us?