Your supervisor plays a critical role in your career path. So while no one should suggest that you become a sycophant and sacrifice your self-respect to get ahead, it’s to everyone’s advantage (yours, in particular) to have a healthy, positive relationship with your manager.
Look at things from your boss’s point of view. It can be lonely at the top. Managers often maintain a distance between themselves and their workers so they can remain objective and avoid complaints of favoritism. But there is no need for that respectful distance to be a chasm.
Getting along with your boss, while doing your best work and supporting his/her goals for the department or company, will improve morale, productivity—and your chances for promotions. You might already be avoiding contention with your manager, but if you want to advance your career and help your work days run more smoothly, start building a stable relationship with the person who can make that happen. Here are a few suggestions:
Make sure your boss can trust you.
Solid relationships are built on trust. By following through on your promises and meeting your deadline commitments, your boss will know you are trustworthy. Keep your supervisor informed, saving him/her from unpleasant and embarrassing surprises. Be open at all times. Few things can destroy a career as quickly as cover-ups and lies that are discovered.
Being able to communicate with your boss without fear of retribution is crucial. A healthy relationship should allow you to speak up when you believe there is a better idea than theirs. As long as you have done your research and can state your case clearly, your boss will see that you have his back and are looking out for the good of the company.
Focus on your boss’s positive traits.
Stay positive in your attitude toward your boss. Too often, workers see nothing but the worst side of the individual in charge. That’s unfortunate because the person that was promoted to the top spot must have had a lot of good points. You gain nothing by homing in on your supervisor’s failings, and your happiness at work and your prospects for success suffer from it.
Show initiative and cooperation.
If you want your boss to like and respect you, cooperating with them is a good start. Employees who take action, collaborate with co-workers, and cooperate with management have positioned themselves for future promotions. Volunteering to take the initiative on that new project or offering suggestions saving time and money on one of the current jobs will result in a better relationship with your boss.
Put your boss’s (and the organization’s) needs first.
Make sure what you’re doing at work is aligned with your boss’s goals and priorities. Recognize that success is typically a team game, not a one-person show, and when you think in terms of the overall success of the company and everyone associated with it, you are contributing to your success.
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