How to have a good relationship with your boss
Do you have a good relationship with your boss?
Having a good relationship with your boss is key for career success and for enjoying your work generally. If this is something that you struggle with, check out these tips.
I am a millennial and in the last few years I have noticed a change in conversation topics amongst friends. Gone are the days of people talking about their crazy weekend antics. Boy/girl-friend drama is far less than it was. And friendships are no longer changing every week following a new bust-up. No, the new favourite topic is about how much people hate their boss.
Very few people seem to think that they have a boss who understands and appreciates them. Even fewer think their boss genuinely wants to help them progress with their career. But why is this?
The bosses only got where they are today by being in our shoes first. So there must be a way of connecting with them.
What can you do to have a good relationship with your boss?
1. Positive thinking
It might sound like a cop-out, but positive thinking can make a really big difference in how you feel about your work. Negative thoughts lead to a negative spiral that helps no one. Rather than complaining and seeing the bad in your boss, try to focus on the positives and think more rationally. Approach the workplace expecting the best, rather than the worst.
2. Identify actual problems
If there is a problem with your boss, try to identify what the issue is and think of what the solution could be.
For example, if you think that they are giving you too much work, maybe they are trying to push you to see what you are capable of. Or if you think that they set unrealistic deadlines, work out how long the work will actually take you. Speak to your boss about it from the start, so that you can work out a timeframe that you can meet which also works for them.
You might find out that the problems are more minor than you had grown to think. But taking the time to think about them will help you to find a solution.
If it is a serious problem such as sexual harassment or bullying take your problem to someone higher up. You might also want to take a look at the company policy, just so that you can be certain of where you stand and what actions might be taken.
3. Put yourself in their shoes
No-body (except maybe the super-wealthy) is born as the boss. Everyone has had to work to get to the position they are in today. But working hard doesn't necessarily mean that they have had managerial training. It was still a new role for them, as your role was for you.
If you look carefully, you might see that they are struggling with some different aspects and just trying to find their feet. Once we humanise bosses, it is harder to see them as just being out to make your life miserable.
Whether you are already a boss, or just have your sights on progressing that way, it is essential that you develop the necessary skills. Contact 3Plus today to find out more about our Leadership Coaching.
4. Are you doing the work you should?
Each boss will have a set of priorities. They might not match up to yours, but they are the boss. They are in charge. Although you need to work in a way that works for you, you also have to respect that they are more senior than you. As such, you need to work in a way that works for them.
It might be that they always like to start the day brightly and promptly, before then having more admin-type afternoons. Maybe they like to see a clear plan before you go ahead with a project, so that they know your intentions. Or perhaps they like regular updates with regular targets. Whatever it is, it's worth trying to do it their way.
If it is something that really doesn't work for you, think of a compromise.
5. Do you think your boss is unsupportive of your career?
If you think that your boss is holding you back, ask yourself (honestly) why you think that might be. Are you less developed in some areas? Do you rush your work, turn up late, or always leave the office first? It might be that they don't think that you are ready yet.
If you want to be further ahead, take the time to set out a career plan for yourself. Look at where you want to be in the next few years, months and weeks. Try to work out what you need to do to get there. Arrange a formal meeting with your boss to discuss your career progression. Go through your plan with them and see if they think it is viable and what you need to do to achieve your goals.
6. Communication is key
Most people are responsive to honest, non-aggressive communication. If you feel that there are some problems, then tell your boss what you are struggling with. They have experience and might be able to help you. Maybe they struggled with the same thing as you when they were in your role. Bosses aren't mind-readers. If you don't tell them what the problem is, they might have no idea that you are having problems.
7. What if your boss just seems to plain not like you?
This is perhaps the most common complaint. If you have been through the other steps and think that none of that is the answer, and that the problem is just a personal one, then it is simple. Some people just don't get on. That's life. But being able to work with different people is a crucial skill for career success. It is time for you to be the bigger person.
Spend time working on your network, so that you have support in multiple directions. Make sure you are doing everything that you are meant to professionally, and keep putting yourself forward for challenges.
They won't be your boss forever, and you will be able to look back at this as a good learning curve.
If you have problems with your boss and worry about career progression, an experienced, external mentor could be the solution. Find the right mentor from our widely experienced team HERE.
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