Getting Along with the Boss
Your Boss holds your future prospects in his hands. Expect very few favors from a Boss who does not like you. Some Bosses are hard to please and get along with. Some have excellent qualifications but no idea when it comes to dealing with people. Of course, not all bosses are like that.
Bad relationships with the Boss can not only mean missed advancement opportunities; it is one of the major reasons for high staff turnover. If you resign because of the Boss, you may also expect a dent in your professional reputation. Imagine having to provide such an 'ex' Boss as the contact referral person at your next interview?
The relationship you have with your boss can be a major factor in determining your rise up the ladder. Your Boss isn't only your supervisor, he is also the person best equipped (or should be) to help you do the job you are paid to do. He is privy to the company's goals and knows what the company is looking for in future executives. He can inform you of company direction that may affect your future aspirations. He can put in a good word in the right ears for you. He is also your ally when you need back up, support or cooperation from other departments.
Your Boss also needs you, performing at your best, in order to accomplish his objectives. He needs your feedback in order to provide realistic and useful reports to upper management. You can make him look good or bad.
But how does this help you establish a meaningful working relationship with your Boss?
The key is communication. Learn and understand his goals and priorities. What is required of him and how can you help him achieve that? Observe and understand your Boss' work style. If he has not been clear with his expectations, ask! Likewise, ask for feedback and accept criticism gracefully. And if he understands you do not view your job as just something to fill the hours between 9 and 5, he may be more inclined to help you.
Know your Boss' priorities and try to anticipate his needs before he asks. Don't think narrowly in terms of your own immediate position... try to understand where what you do ties in with the bigger picture.
What other things can you discover about your Boss? Is she conservative or informal? Does she prefer to be greeted as Ms, Miss or Mrs, or does she prefer first names? Is hers an "open door" policy or does she prefer you set appointments with her? Respect your boss’ time. Never barge into her office expecting or demanding a hearing immediately. Does she prefer to be kept informed with progress reports, or does she prefer you show initiative and get on with the job? Discover and eliminate behaviors that would annoy her, and never bad-mouth her to others. It always gets back via office grapevines.
Your boss is only human. Like you, he has his off days, and being human, he can also make mistakes. Some managers are naturals, and others struggle because communication and people skills are not their strong points. He may not have all the answers, and maybe, his own boss is hard to get along with or has unrealistic expectations!
Don’t be a "yes man" and don't offer false flattery in the hope of getting somewhere... it won't work! And don't aim for "closeness" in the working relationship because this can also backfire. If he depends upon you too much, he won't recommend you for promotions because he needs you too much where you are. Another possibility is, if he is not a good manager, he may be given his marching orders... if you are seen to be a part of his management mishaps, you may be marching out the door with him!
Do what you can to stay in his/her good books. Don't take "sickies" unless you ARE sick! Be an effective, cooperative, responsible and courteous employee and team player.
It is possible that you are already these things, and you are working for somebody whose management style disagrees with your needs or expectations. Maybe friction can not be avoided. So you need to decide just how important your career path in that particular company is, because if you can't adjust and work with it, you may be better off looking for a new job in a new department or company.
In short, getting along with your Boss entails getting to know his likes and dislikes and learning to work with his personality and management style.
And the upside about mastering communication and people skills with your own boss is that one day, those skills will pay off in your own management role with your own team.
Terri Levine MCC, PCC, MS, CCC-SLP is CEO of Comprehensive Coaching U, a Master Certified Coach, Public Speaker, and Author of "Stop Managing, Start Coaching", "Work Yourself Happy", "Coaching for an Extraordinary Life", and "Create Your Ideal Body. To learn more about Coaching and related programs, or to sign up for Terri's newsletter, please visit http://www.terrilevine.com or call: 877-401-6165