The relationship with your boss is a critical aspect of a favorable work atmosphere and your job satisfaction. The boss forms a vital link between you and the upper management and thus represents the entire organization to you. Below are four key principles to build and sustain an excellent relationship with your boss.
- The relationship between you and your boss is likely a circular relationship: if you like your boss, your boss likes you; if your boss likes you, you like your boss. Overlook actions of your boss that may disappoint you and be conscious of how you react to conflicts.
- Suit his/her work style. Understand your boss’s thought processes, preferences and pet-peeves. If your boss is hands-on, favors raw data for making decisions, resists confrontations or avoids risk, you must be sensitive and suit his/her style. You may be able to sell your boss on the merits of changes to his/her style; however, realize that change takes time and is not guaranteed.
- When your boss succeeds, you succeed. Understand your boss’s role, his/her strengths, weaknesses and goals. Ask how you can support his/her objectives and the organization’s goals. Do not assume his/her expectations of you. Communicate continually by detailing progress on your assignments and by giving prompt feedback on challenges you face and asking for support.
- Realize that one hand cannot clap. Fundamentally, people are different; their perspectives and work-styles are different. You are very lucky if you have a boss who is competent and supportive—somebody who is genuinely interested in your assignments and career advancement. Recognize early if things are not going well; be open and straight-forward in communicating your thoughts and if changes you made have not improved the situation appreciably, be prepared to leave.
Success in building relationships does not come easily. Co-operating with your boss involves being proactive and tolerant, making mistakes and learning from them. The onus is on you to effectively manage this key relationship and achieve the best results for yourself, your boss and the organization.