Five Ways to Improve Your Relationship with Your Boss
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Any company’s success depends on its boss and their staff having positive, respectful relationships. It’s safe to assume that the boss would like to have more than surface-level relationships with the people they work with every day, even though having dedicated employees who carry out their vision for the company is probably their top priority. After all, they probably spend more time with their employees than anyone else.
There’s also something in it for the employees. The boss is a big part of how far you can go in your career, so the more they know about you, your work, and how hard you work, the more likely you are to be rewarded.
Having a good relationship with your boss that is based on respect can boost your morale, make you more productive, and, in the long run, help your career. If you want your relationship with your boss to be more than just “we get along fine,” here are five ways to make it stronger.
1. Set up monthly meetings on your own
When I first opened my business, I only had five employees, so it was easy to meet with each of them almost every day. Now that there are 19, it is harder to check in with each employee every day and keep track of what they are doing. So it’s important that my employees take the initiative to set up one-on-one meetings with me throughout the month. This gives me information about what’s happening in the company, demonstrates their concern for their work, and demonstrates that they are considering my objectives and expectations.
Even if your boss is busy, you should make it a point to meet with him or her one-on-one at least once a month. Use that time to talk about how your current projects are going, to share your plans for the future, and to make sure you’re still on track with your boss’s goals and plans.
2. Show off your creativity and initiative.
Every CEO or manager wants their company to be full of people who are motivated and work hard. If you show your boss that you’re excited to take on new projects, both of you will do better.
If you work in an office where people are always coming up with ideas for new products, services, projects, or ways to improve how things are done, don’t be afraid to raise your hand and offer to lead on something. If people aren’t giving you many ideas, keep a list of your own and give it to your boss at your monthly meetings.
Being creative and taking the lead shows your manager that you want to grow with the company, which is sure to make your relationship with him or her better.
3. Strive for Open Communication
How many times have you told your boss that one of their ideas isn’t so good? Any worker would be scared to have this talk, but it’s an important one.
I’ve shared ideas with employees more than once, and they’ve come back and said, politely, that my idea might not be the best way to go. I don’t get upset because when they tell me my idea isn’t good, they also give me an idea for something else. Or, even better, they think about how they can change my idea to make it work better.
Remember that you were hired because you have certain skills that the company values and, often, because you can see things from a different angle than your boss. Feeling comfortable enough to disagree with your boss and have an open line of communication will build a strong relationship—one in which you know the best ideas will always rise to the top.
4. Remember that your boss is also human.
Most leaders go to work with a professional face and a mile-long list of things to do. They spend their days working toward the goals of the company. But even leaders like it when their workers see them as more than just the person who writes their paychecks.
In a previous article where I talked about how to keep your employees happy and loyal, I said that leaders should ask their teams, “How was your weekend?” I think it works both ways, though: Employees should take the time to ask their boss questions like “How are you?” and “Did you do anything fun this weekend?” This isn’t about being best friends or feeling like you have to hang out outside of work; it’s about talking on a more personal level.
5. Be Yourself
Some of your coworkers may have talked about their “work wives” or “work husbands.” It’s usually said in jest, but many of us do spend more time with our coworkers than with our real families. And sometimes that dedication can lead to problems at home or at work. But unless your boss is the famous psychic Theresa Caputo, they won’t know that you have a problem at home.
I’d rather my employees tell me when something at work or at home is affecting the rest of their lives than for me to try to figure out why their work has suddenly slowed down or why they have a bad attitude.
So, if you’re a parent with long work hours that are hard on your family, suggest a schedule that lets you work part-time from home. Or, if you’re a part-time college student who needs extra time off during finals week, see if you can make up the time somewhere else. Ask for what you need and be willing to make concessions, and your relationship with your manager will be better for it.
Don’t forget that you shouldn’t try to be best friends with your boss. Instead, work on getting good at talking to people and building trust, and the benefits will come.