Whether you’re an entry-level employee, manager, supervisor or some level of upper-management, most people will always experience the superior/subordinate type of relationship with someone at the workplace. For some, this relationship can be enjoyable. However, for many, it can also be very stressful.
The good news is that there are some things that you can do—whether you’re the boss or the subordinate—that can help make this working relationship more enjoyable and a bit easier to manage on a day-to-day basis.
Thanks to the folks at Dale Carnegie Training of Central Ohio, here are five simple suggestions for how you may be able to create a better working relationship with your boss.
- Find Out How Your Boss Works Best. Every person works differently, whether it’s their communication style, how they like to work, what kinds of medium they prefer to use, etc. The first step to a better working relationship with your boss is to find out how your boss works best. Do they like structure and would they prefer a specific meeting time for you to come to them with questions or concerns? Do they not mind interruptions and have an open-door policy for you to come to them? Do they prefer e-mail, telephone or in-person communication? Whatever floats your boss’ boat, figure it out and you will already be one step closer to a much more efficient, effective and happier working relationship with him or her.
- Be Positive. Nobody likes a Debbie Downer and it’s harder and harder these days to find employees that are positive, upbeat and going to maintain a pleasant attitude at the workplace. So, be the exception and bring positive energy to the office. When there’s a problem, help find the solution and encourage others around you to do the same. When things get stressful, find positive ways to handle it instead of infiltrating negativity and more stress throughout the office.
- Don’t Make Excuses. Ask any boss and the one pet peeve most of them will share is this one: EXCUSES. No boss likes to hear excuses from employees, so know what is expected of you and plan accordingly. Most people won’t get in trouble for coming to their boss before a problem occurs. It’s those that let things go and then come up with a million excuses why it happened that don’t seem to stay around for too much longer. Anticipate problems and catch them in time to figure out solutions so you don’t have to go to your boss with any excuses. Along the same lines, be willing to accept blame or fault when appropriate. An employee that’s willing to acknowledge his or her own mistake and express an interest in correcting the mistake will be much more valued and appreciated at the end of the day than someone that points fingers and doesn’t admit any fault.
- Keep Your Personal Stuff Personal. This is a common mistake made by many employees. They feel that if they get close to their boss, it’ll create some kind of friendship that will “save” them. Most bosses have bosses and, at the end of the day, people are asked to make sure that they’re getting their job done and that the company’s goals and objectives are being met. What this means is that your boss doesn’t need to know your entire personal life in order to “like” you. In fact, some of the personal information some employees choose to share with their bosses may hurt them more than help them. According to this article on Salary.com, here are just some of the things you should refrain from telling your boss: religious beliefs, political beliefs, relationship/marital trouble, sexual orientation, mental health issues, and your social/nightlife scene. You don’t want to put yourself in a position to be judged or discriminated against, so keep your personal life to yourself.
- Go Beyond the Basics. Every boss expects their employee to do their basic duties and daily tasks. It’s those employees that go beyond the basics and try to find ways to improve the company, come in a little earlier, stay a little longer, offer to help out on projects outside of their normal duties and stay a step ahead that will always be far more appreciated than those that simply come in from 8:01am to 4:59pm and to the bare minimum of the job requirements. However, be careful to make sure you’re getting your regular job duties done (and done timely and correctly) before taking on more than you were hired to do.
- Ask for Feedback. An employee that actively seeks feedback from a boss is an employee that is looking to improve him or herself. Often times, bosses may refrain from commenting about your work performance for fear of confrontation or simply to avoid hurting your feelings. But an employee that can accept some constructive criticism and actively seek out this kind of feedback will always be viewed positively in the eyes of his or her superiors. This is a great way for you to discover and address any of your own habits that you can correct before it becomes a problem or creates a strain on your working relationship with your boss.
As with all relationships we have in our personal and professional lives, our working relationships with our bosses always take time, patience and communication. They never seem to come automatically, but the more you can learn about how your boss works and how to make him or her happy, the better you will feel about coming into the office each day—which there is no better way to be!
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