Improving your relationship with your boss
Today’s tough economic environment has added a great deal of pressure as companies push to ensure they’re getting maximum performance from every employee.
The result is often a harsher work environment and deteriorating relationships with supervisors as performance goals become more critical.
And while there certainly are both good and bad bosses, if you value your job it’s vital to learn to manage your relationship with that person above you. Your relationship with your supervisor plays an enormous role in your job performance, stress levels and overall job satisfaction.
But creating a more positive relationship with your boss doesn’t just happen. It requires you to be pro-active and to work at building a better relationship.
Do you know what’s important to your supervisor? Learning about your boss and what matters to him or her will be appreciated. And, as you learn your supervisor’s values and concerns, it becomes easier to interact with him or her as a person, rather than simply as a boss.
You also need to understand your boss’s expectations. Are there reports or other job actions your supervisor needs to do his or her own job? Are there certain “pet peeves,” such as dress codes or timeliness, that matter a lot to him or her? Make time to talk with your supervisor and ask questions about what’s really expected of you.
Communication is another vital step. That doesn’t mean always being ready to complain, but rather being open and approachable. Ask periodically, in a genuine, friendly way, how you’re doing. Make it easy for your boss to be able to talk with you, try out new ideas, offer suggestions, and feel that his or her responsibilities can be shared with you.
It also helps to be flexible. Meeting times get moved or deadlines get changed. It’s easy to blame your boss for such problems, but it often may not be his or her fault, and assessing blame won’t improve a relationship. Instead, accept and adapt to changes, and realize that an employee who can handle the unexpected will be appreciated.
A supervisor needs to know you’re interested in more than just collecting a paycheck. Supervisors notice when there’s open communication, when criticism is accepted in a positive manner, and when an employee is actively working to build a relationship that will help you both work better. And in tough economic times, a happier boss is a very good thing.
“The Counseling Corner” is provided as a public service by the American Counseling Association, the nation’s largest organization of counseling professionals. Learn more at the ACA web site, www.counseling.org.