Three Tips for Forming a Good Relationship with Your Boss

Building a positive relationship with your boss is a key factor in career success and job satisfaction. But how can you make it happen? Let’s take a look at three proactive steps you can take to cultivate a harmonious working relationship.

Utilize Effective Communication Strategies

Everyone has a different communication style. Figure out your boss’s preferred style, and then find ways to merge it with your own. For example, your supervisor might prefer texting and casual language. Or they might maintain more formal expectations. You don’t have to completely change who you are, but things will run more smoothly if you strive to fit in.

Regardless of style, always follow the basic guidelines for effective communication:

  • Present solutions, not just problems
  • Practice active listening, including clarifying and restating what you think you heard
  • Respond as soon as possible
  • If you don’t know an answer, provide an estimated timeline for when you will find out
  • Use body language to convey your message and intent
  • Be attentive during your onboarding process

Understand Expectations

Get to know the rhythms of your workplace. Does everyone leave a little early on Fridays? Are you expected to be at your workstation, completely ready to go, five minutes before your scheduled start time? Don’t be late for work. How long are lunch breaks? What should you do if a problem arises? Are there seasonal fluctuations in workload?

The more you can learn about the unwritten expectations at work, the smoother your relationship with your boss is likely to be. Don’t be afraid to make suggestions for a better workflow or enhanced productivity, but show your boss that you are reliable and able to handle the daily ebb and flow.

Create a Positive Presence

Show up every day and put your best foot forward. Cultivate a positive, can-do attitude toward your job. Learn to reframe obstacles as opportunities and challenges as growth experiences. Treat everyone with kindness, show your boss that you’re ready to help solve problems, and find outlets for your stress outside of work, and communicate what makes you unique and valuable to the organization. A single person’s positive attitude can actually help turn an entire workplace around.

Building a relationship with your boss isn’t always easy. But the rewards are worth the challenges. Along with the tips above, go out of your way to make small talk and build rapport, and you’ll be on your way to an excellent working relationship.


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