How to improve your relationship with your boss

Jan 16, 2021

It’s often said that people don’t leave companies, they leave bad managers.

Whilst this is too simplistic and not always true, a challenging relationship with your manager can have a big impact on your wellbeing at work.

It can impact your motivation, engagement & effectiveness & diminish your performance.

The knock on effect if we don’t address these issues is an impact to our personal brand as we become increasingly disengaged.

So what can you do about it?

It takes 2 people to make a relationship work, and you play a part in ensuring it’s a constructive, collaborative partnership.

By taking responsibility & deciding to work with your manager to improve your relationship, you can overcome challenges before they become problems & make work a more enjoyable place to be.

Even if you have a good working relationship with your manager, there are steps you can take to make things great.

Here are 4 ways you can improve your relationship with your manager:


1. Know their priorities & goals.

When you understand what your manager is working toward you can better tailor the way you share information. When you support your manager to achieve their goals you show them you are dependable, trustworthy & focused on the bigger picture.

2. Anticipate their needs.

The more you anticipate their needs and support them, the more trust, confidence & influence you build.

3. Get quality time with them.

Getting to know your manager (and giving them an opportunity to know you) is essential to building a strong relationship. Diarise a recurring one on one (not a tactical WIP) where you have the opportunity to talk about shared goals, ask questions and get to know each other as people. This could be held over breakfast or an after work drink. Sharing stories & showing vulnerability on both sides is a fast track to building trust.

4. Recognise it’s not always about you.

Senior leaders always have a lot more going on than we realise. Focus on how you can build a relationship with them, not how they ‘should’ be building one with you. Empathy & emotional awareness build a bridge to a better working relationship with others.

Managing up is a skill everyone must invest in. Your success at work depends on it.


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