Building a Productive Relationship with Your Boss

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The word from management experts time and again: Get along with your boss and you’ll get ahead in your career. That management maxim doesn’t come as good news to you if you generally avoid your direct supervisor like the plague, either because you view him or her as clueless and incompetent, or because the individual comes across as an ogre who keeps dumping work on you.

In “How to Manage Your Boss,” author Kristie Kennard explains why building an effective professional relationship with your boss is absolutely critical to your career success. Your boss can give you raises, coach and mentor you, offer choice projects and assignments, and help you get ahead in your organization. Or, your boss can overwork you, deny you advancement, and undermine you in every phase of your professional life.
To get ahead within an organization, almost everyone needs “help from above,” and that means a boss who likes, trusts, and respects you. Management experts agree that even the most adversarial boss can become your ally – if you use patience and the right approach in turning the relationship around.
The key to developing and strengthening the boss-employee relationship is to make the effort to get to know what your supervisor is all about, both personally and professionally.
Try these relationship-building tips for getting to know your boss:
  • Learn about your boss’s goals; they’ll speak volumes about who your boss really is.
  • Become aware of what kind of power your boss has and how he or she uses it.
  • Assess your boss’s strengths and weaknesses – and recognize how yours can complement them.
  • Notice how your boss handles emotion.
  • Determine how your boss prefers to communicate and use that style whenever possible.
  • Observe your boss’s management style.
  • Find out what kinds of stress your boss is under.
  • Determine what your boss needs from you as an employee.
  • Ask about your boss’s personal interests and activities and try to find common ground.
  • Discover what demands your boss has on his or her time and find ways to protect this valuable resource.

Apply these powerful tips and you’ll find yourself developing a strong relationship of mutual trust with your boss, even if you once couldn’t stand the individual! An effective boss-employee relationship will serve as a rock-solid foundation for your career growth – and your future within your organization.

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