The quality of your relationships at work is a significant determinant of not only your overall job satisfaction but also your efficiency. One of the most crucial relationships to impact your professional environment and performance is the one you have with your manager. According to a Gallup study, managers account for over 70% of the variance in employee engagement. This is reflective of the huge influence your manager has in how engaged you feel at work. In addition to this, your boss also plays a key role in your career advancement at any given time. Given the level of impact that your reporting manager has on your career, it’s important that you proactively foster the relationship.
Here are five tips to that can help you strengthen your relationship with your manager.
establish open and honest communication
Try to gauge your boss’s communication style. While some managers might be more forthcoming in terms of articulating what they expect from their team, others refrain from laying it all out in the open. Some bosses also like to have a personal rapport with their team members, are more open to sharing their ideas and interests, and welcome the same in return. You must learn when and how to broach difficult topics with your manager. Be observant, understand the key traits of your manager, and lead the relationship in a way that compliments both your as well as your manager’s working style.
Show initiative by creating new opportunities
This personality trait is usually appreciated by managers of all leadership styles. Taking initiative at work is reflective of a strong career drive and focus. Managers appreciate team members who know their strengths and exhibit them when given an opportunity. Managers also look out for high potential employees who can create new opportunities on their own – and not just take the initiative when presented with an opportunity.
be a team player at all times
Whether you are sharing work responsibility on a project or going on a break, your actions directly or indirectly impact the work load of your entire team. Think of yourself as someone who is accountable for your team’s performance. Plan your work, learning, breaks, etc. in a manner that your team’s/manager’s goals do not suffer. This is one way to empower your manager and share some his/her load and responsibility.
try and walk in your manager’s shoes
To truly develop a healthy professional equation with your manager, it is important that you understand his/her challenges as a team leader. Imagine what you would expect from your team in a certain situation, if you were the boss. This will help you empathize with your manager and also motivate you to give your best as a team member.
remember that every boss is different
Try not to replicate the relationship you have had with one boss with another manager. No two bosses are likely to evaluate your working style in exactly the same way. New managers often bring new work habits, leadership styles, and temperaments. It’s therefore best not to compare bosses in terms of their reaction to or appreciation for your work. You will have to work on building your personal equation with every boss from scratch, each time. Take your time to learn and adapt to the style of a new boss, and also give him/her enough time to gauge you as an employee.
If nurtured properly, your relationship with your boss can become an asset to power your career advancement. A good manager is often also a good mentor and building such equations with your seniors at work can rapidly further your learning - a critical enabler of career success.