Managing your boss isn’t a matter of “apple polishing” or playing politics. It involves working together to generate the best solutions for you, your boss and your company.
—Dr. Robert Karlsberg
Can you really manage your boss? Probably not, but you can improve your relationship with your boss by effectively communicating, better understanding their preferred leadership style, and by building an open and trusting relationship.
Start by aligning expectations and having a clear understanding of your organization’s vision and mission statements, and supporting goals; we must know our responsibilities and how we support attaining shared goals, and hold one another accountable for our actions (or lack of actions).
That’s the relationship. You’re trying to live up to the boss’s view of your best self.
8 Tips to Improve Your Relationship With Your Boss
Management experts, Joe Takash and Bahaudin Mujtaba, provide the following tips for fostering a better relationship with your boss.
1. Learn your boss’ communication style.
What level of detail do they prefer? How often do they want to meet? Identify who seems to communicate best with them and try incorporating their style with yours.
2. Be proactive.
Understand the strengths you bring to the organization and ensure your boss is aware of them. If you have ideas, share them and create an executable plan.
3. Meet regularly.
Schedule monthly meetings (minimally); discuss your progress against goals, identify areas for improvement, and jointly update your development plan.
4. Ask for your boss’ opinion.
Ask for their perspective on things. State your idea and approach, and ask for their input. If you’re the boss, ask your team for their ideas and LISTEN.
5. Go to your boss with solutions.
Most of us have heard “don’t come to me with problems, come to me with solutions.” That doesn’t mean we don’t ask for help or have questions, but rather that we have thought it through, have solutions (which may have failed), but would now like another opinion.
6. Develop a power that makes you attractive.
Become an expert, stay apprised of changes in your industry, understand the competition, have the dream customer/business partner relationship.
7. Address problems.
If you seem at odds with your boss, talk to him/her. Do it when you can have one another’s full attention, remain fact based as to why you feel uncomfortable, and keep your emotions in check.
8. Play devil’s advocate.
This doesn’t mean having open disagreements or making your boss look “wrong.” Instead, say, “Let me play devil’s advocate” so you are viewed as stating an alternate opinion which may bring additional light to the situation.
Invest the time to build a relationship with your boss, understand how they prefer to be communicated with, and model your leadership behaviors to support those preferences.
Guaranteed to build a “win-win” relationship!
The glue that holds all relationships together — including the relationship between the leader and the led is trust, and trust is based on integrity.
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