No one has more influence over your career trajectory than your boss. From raises to promotions, they usually have the final say, so it’s important that you have a good relationship with them. Here are 7 easy ways you can build a better relationship with your boss — while keeping your dignity in tact.
Under-promise and over deliver.
It’s a simple, yet effective way to boost your profile with your boss. Get a clear understanding of what is expected, and then always exceed those expectations. Try completing a project earlier than anticipated or enhancing the final work product by including a few extras. Anything you can do to demonstrate that you’re proactive and can manage your workload is a big plus.
Avoid the water-cooler gossip.
Every workplace has its own skeletons and scandals, and you’ll look mature and professional if you opt to not participate in petty chatter. Also, your boss will appreciate that you aren’t creating any HR headaches with unnecessary gossip. Keep your head down and focus on delivering top-notch work.
Have a good attitude.
Work is stressful enough, and the last thing your boss wants to do is manage a sourpuss. So no matter how rough the day gets, focus on maintaining a positive outlook. Graciously admit mistakes, genuinely praise others, and if you must, complain tactfully. Be the light on your team.
Ask for feedback.
This is your career, so don’t be afraid to take control and find out exactly where you stand with your boss. Ask him directly — and regularly — how you’re performing. That way, if there are issues, you can address them before review time. Or if everything is going well, you’ll know to continue doing what you’re doing. Either way, asking for feedback demonstrates that you’re an employee who cares. Bosses love that.
Come up with solutions, not problems.
When things go haywire at work, your boss needs someone that can help manage the chaos, not someone to point to the chaos and go, “Hey, there’s some chaos!” As problems arise, try and brainstorm possible solutions for your boss’s consideration. You’ll make his or her job a whole lot easier, and build a reputation for yourself as a problem solver.
Treat your boss like a human being.
Some people view their bosses as emotionless corporate robots whose only purpose is to move the company forward. But, managers are human beings, too. And just as you’d like for your boss to ask how you’re doing or how your weekend was, you should be willing to do the same for them. It’s not about being BFFs, but about communicating on a slightly more personal level that lets them know that you see them as more than just a paycheck.
If you’re having an issue in your personal life — such as family or health issues — and your work is being affected, let your boss know what’s going on. That way, you two can work together to come up with a solution that works for your current situation. Don’t sabotage your boss — and yourself — by delivering subpar work that reflects poorly on you both. Ask for what you need and work towards a compromise, and your relationship with your manager will thrive.