By Nancy Mann Jackson
Would you like to be more appreciated by your boss? Feel more comfortable approaching him or her with requests? Stop worrying about what he thinks of you? Why not do something about it?
As with any human relationship, your behavior and attitude can make a difference in your relationship with your boss
. If you want a different type of relationship with him, start behaving differently and results will follow.
First, be conscious of the type of relationship you’re going for – you don’t want to build a connection that’s too friendly or intimate; keep it professional but rewarding.
“The ideal boss-employee relationship is one of trust and respect where both individuals work as a team to achieve the goals of the company,” said Deborah Millhouse, president of CEO Inc.
, which specializes in direct hire placement, temporary staffing, and human capital services. “The employee should be supportive of the needs and requirements of the boss so that the boss can reach the goals and complete the job with success.”
Millhouse offers five tips for building a better relationship with your boss:
- Make a genuine effort to learn about him or her. “Understand your boss’s personality style and communicate with him in an effective way that supports his temperament,” Millhouse said. “Ask good questions about his or her goals, and then support them.”
- Check your bad mood at the door. “Attitude is more important than aptitude,” Millhouse said. “Be full of energy and ready to try anything.”
- Use good manners. Just like your mom taught you, simple courtesies like saying please and thank you can go a long way. Also, “deliver results without being asked or prompted a million times,” Millhouse said.
- Communicate openly and clearly. Don’t be stingy with your ideas; contribute good ideas to the team and you’ll be appreciated. Also, “speak up, be accurate, clear, and to the point; don’t play the cloaking game,” Millhouse said. No boss wants to spend time trying to figure out what you meant by what you said – just say what you mean in a polite, clear way.
- Take initiative. Don’t always wait to be told what to do; when you see something that needs to be done, just do it. “Set good goals,” Millhouse said. And then, “do what you say you will do.”
If your boss is particularly difficult, improving your relationship with him might take more time. View it as a challenge and make an ongoing effort to make improvements.
“Most difficult relationships lack trust, so building trust is the first step,” Millhouse said. “Trust is achieved through understanding and communicating effectively with each other. With a boss who is especially difficult, the employee can attempt to improve relations with efforts to open the lines of communications.”
About the author:
Nancy Mann Jackson is an award-winning journalist and corporate communicator who writes regularly about small business, parenting, and workplace issues. Since 2001, she has worked as a freelance writer and has written hundreds of articles for publications including Working Mother, CNNMoney.com, Entrepreneur.com, and MyBusiness. She also writes and edits annual reports, blogs, and newsletters for companies in industries including finance, technology, and construction. Jackson also is a member of the American Society of Journalists and Authors.