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Managing Your Manager

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Tips to Improve the Relationship with your Boss


One of the most important relationships you need to work on in your life is the relationship with your boss. There is a lot of support and information available for better managing your subordinates, but very little on how to better interact with your boss. Managing your boss is a critical skill that contributes to the success of not only your boss and peers but also your own success. It can be quite a daunting ordeal when dealing with a difficult boss, but it is possible to improve your situation. Let’s look at 3 steps that can improve your relationship.


1.    Take charge

Stop the blame game! If you are having problems with the boss, then it is your responsibility to work out that relationship. You cannot change your boss (or anyone else). It is easier adjusting your own approaches than expecting your boss to change, so brainstorm and figure out what changes you are okay making.  I’m not saying to be someone you’re not, but rather change your strategy in how you interact.  Think about different ways to initiate contact, different ways to engage or ask questions, and new ways to make requests.  Make a firm commitment to work out any issues between you and your boss and take action. Be proactive!


2.    Understand their expectations

It is very important to know what is expected of you. Request regular meetings with your boss to keep him/her in the loop on your activities and accomplishments. Work to understand the management style your boss is using. There are bosses who micromanage and there are others who are extremely hands-off. Be keen, learn how your boss operates, and adapt to his/her management style. If you are unsure, mimic the approach of someone who successfully interacts with your boss or ask them for tips and advice on how to better communicate with them. Be adaptable as you become aware of ways to better interact with different or difficult personalities. Look at this as a learning experience!


3.    Focus on your work

You have taken charge and you know what is expected of you, so work!  That is why you are being paid. Do what you are expected and do it very well.  Most bosses cherish workers who take initiative and perform beyond expectations.  Make yourself invaluable with not only your responsibilities but also, the way you perform those assigned duties. Keep track of your accomplishments and don’t go around bragging, but do take valid opportunities to point out your contributions and ask for additional ways to contribute.


It may be prudent to seek advice from someone who understands the boss better than you, but remember, going over your boss’s head may backfire.  In some cases, when you’ve tried your best, solving your differences with the manager might be impossible. In such a scenario, it is better to be honest with yourself and consider moving to another department or to another company. If you think the situation is intolerable or continues to make you unhappy, it may be time to make a move.


Have you ever had a relationship with a boss that started off rocky, but over time developed into a great connection?