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Building A Good Relationship With Your Boss

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Many work-related complaints are directed at bosses. The nature of the relationship between worker and boss automatically causes friction. After all, it means one person tells another person what to do. That is why supervisors need a great deal of skill in handling people, as well as a thorough knowledge of their job. If you have a boss who is deficient in either of those areas, you are going to have problems. As a worker, you also need to understand the pressure and responsibility your supervisor faces and the stress that causes. Remember that there are two sides to every story.

Take a look at what each individual brings to and requires from the relationship. You depend on your boss for direction, feedback and support. Your boss relies on you for new ideas, hard work and cooperation in getting things done. To be able to appreciate what each has to offer, you must understand both your boss’s and your own:

· Strengths
· Weaknesses
· Communication styles
· Management styles
· Personal goals
· Career goals
· Priorities

At the top of this list should be clearly understanding your manager’s goals—both personal and professional. If you help your manager achieve his or her goals, you’re in a very good position for getting a helping hand in achieving your own.

The key to building a good relationship with your boss is opening the lines of communication and keeping them open. You may have to initiate this process. Many people are afraid to approach their boss, but your attitude can make it work for both of you. It is better to confront problems in the relationship than to try to avoid them. They will not get better by themselves. Ask your boss for a meeting at his or her convenience. Tell your supervisor you want to talk about ways to do your job better. Don’t set a meeting when you are angry or upset. Wait until you feel you are in control of your emotions. Then, offer suggestions and ask for feedback. Don’t make demands or place blame. Avoid making assumptions or allowing your emotions to get the best of you.

Your boss may be under a tremendous amount of stress and not aware that there is a problem. The other possibility is that your boss is actually afraid he/she may come across in the wrong way. He or she is trying so hard to be objective, fair and “all business” that they may not know how to solve the problem without seeming to look weak or foolish.

Avoid complaining. Approach your boss by asking, “How can I do a better job, or work in a way that you would find more satisfactory?” It is not disrespectful nor does it place blame. It opens the lines of communication and allows your boss to talk frankly with you. You should be prepared to hear what your boss says – good or bad. He or she may be relieved to have the opportunity to address the situation and appreciate you for that. You are showing trust.

Once you begin building a relationship with your boss, you will find that you are working more as a partner than a subordinate. As a partner, your supervisor may give you more responsibility, which can lead to career growth and more job satisfaction.


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