How to improve your relationship with your boss

With 5 key strategies identified such as understanding your manager and progress checks, here are some of our career advice tips on how to work more effectively with your boss. Neil Owen, Global Practice Director of Robert Half looks at how to improve your relationship with your boss in the video below.



How to improve your relationship with your boss - Knowing how to communicate effectively has become a critical aspect of success in the business world.  In fact, what you say and how you say it can make or break your image in the workplace. If you want to improve your relationship with your boss, understanding how they prefer to communicate can provide immediate results.

In the perfect world, you and your boss would be completely compatible.  You would have similar personalities, common goals and shared ways of working and communicating.  There would never be miscommunication or misunderstanding, and your work would always be praised. Unfortunately, this isn’t always the case.

Nevertheless, the show must go on and it’s often up to you to establish and maintain a good working relationship with your manager, your career coach so to speak.

According to a survey of 6,000 workers worldwide, nearly 9 in 10 feel that having a manager who is a good career coach is important in their overall career satisfaction and two-thirds say it impacts their motivation at work.

In order to maximise your career potential, here are some strategies to help establish a good relationship with your own career coach.

Try to understand your manager

Bosses are people too, which means they’re subject to problems and challenges just like the rest of us. By observing and asking questions, you can learn a great deal about your manager’s work life. If you know the pressure your boss faces each day, you’ll better understand the demands and frustrations he or she faces. This will give you added perspective on your working relationship.

Treat your boss like a client

You no doubt already go out of your way to accommodate clients and respond to their demands – why not try the same approach with your manager?  Like any client, he or she has specific needs that should define your priorities and guide you in the performance of your duties.  

Proactively identify and provide what your supervisor requires from you and offer to take on additional tasks so that your manager has more time for other critical responsibilities.  Your perceptiveness and support will be appreciated.

Arrange regular progress checks

Don’t wait for small problems to develop into big crises. Tell your manager promptly if you encounter difficulties with a project, or if the team isn’t going to meet its deadline.

In addition to providing weekly status reports on projects, request quarterly meetings to discuss broader issues, such as opportunities for improvement or growth.

Communicate Effectively

While it’s not necessary for you and your manager to be best friends, you must be able to work together in a constructive manner.   The best way to achieve this objective is to communicate effectively.  

Determine when your boss requires detailed reports or face-to-face meetings and when a short e-mail or voicemail message will suffice.  If the communication is one-on-one, keep in mind that some busy managers dislike “drop-in” visits and prefer to schedule meetings in advance.  By tailoring your communication style to that of your manager, you’ll more likely fulfil your responsibilities and meet your respective goals.

Identify work styles

According to our research, most workers prefer for their manager to provide clear directions to complete projects, while others like to collaborate and some want to do things on their own with minimal supervision. Identifying how you and your manager work best together will help you gain a more clear understanding of expectations, allowing you to do your best work while keeping your manager happy.

As in any close working relationship between two people, you and your manager are bound to experience conflict from time to time.  But by demonstrating tact, respect and professionalism, along with the tips suggested here, you can ensure a mutually productive, rewarding relationship.



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