By Perminus Wainaina
What kind of relationship do you have with your boss?
Is having a good relationship with your managers important?
Two years ago, I was interviewing Kelvin for a supervisor position at a manufacturing company.
During the interview, I asked him why he wanted to leave his current job. He said he did not get along with the company’s General Manager; as a result, Kelvin was willing to take on a job that paid less than his current one.
What kind of relationship do you have with your boss? You might have a cordial relationship, or you might even be great friends. The kind of relationship you have will undoubtedly affect and influence your work.
For instance, there are cases of unhealthy relationships between an employee and the boss. This relationship can often strain the working connection and even lead to stress in the workplace.
On the other hand, you might have a healthy relationship with your boss that you feel you enjoy more privileges that other employees don’t get.
However, this should not warrant you to take advantage of the situation. Remember your supervisor is trying to grow the company as well as advance their career. As such, they could still fire or reprimand you, in spite of your relationship.
The kind of relationship you have with your boss plays a key role in how satisfied you are at work, and to an extent, how you progress in your career.
How do you form a meaningful connection with your supervisor?
If you wish to connect with your boss, you have to work on how well you relate.
Here are a few tips that will help you relate better with your boss.
1. Demonstrate your drive and initiative
When an employer is hiring, they are looking for a professional who’ll perform the tasks allocated, and go the extra mile.
When you show initiative at work, you’ll grab the attention of your boss.
For example, I know a telesales executive who works for one of the largest communications company in Eastern Africa. she started off on a three-month contract.
The job involved marketing one of the services to existing customers. Each day, they were tasked to make 70 calls, and have at least 25 customers subscribe to the product.
She used to call at least a hundred people and ensure more than 40 had subscribed to the service.
This caught the attention of the supervisor.
When the contract was over, she was given a fulltime job –the only one in a team of 19 people.
She was driven to perform her tasks to the best of her ability. This led to the supervisor noticing her. The connection she formed with the supervisor landed her the job.
At work, be proactive, look for areas you can help in. This will surely get the boss to notice you, thus beginning a meaningful connection.
At meetings, for example, you can show initiative by actively contributing and giving ideas on how to grow your department or the company.
2. Set regular meetings with your boss
Depending on the size of your department, your boss may not have the time to interact with each employee.
If you want to create a connection with your manager, create some time where you can meet and review your work.
For example, you can strive to meet the manager once a month. In the meeting, go over the work you have done for that month, ask for feedback, and areas where you can improve on.
Besides showing initiative, this will also display your willingness to learn and grow.
When you have regular meetings, the boss will keep a close eye on your career and how well you’re carrying out your duties. Not only will this improve your proficiency at work, but it’ll also improve your chances of getting a promotion, or more responsibilities.
3. Strive for open communication
In any relationship, effective communication is integral.
Open communication means you’re transparent with the boss and you openly voice your ideas.
For example, if your boss has an idea and you don’t think it’ll work well, don’t be afraid to voice this. However, observe how you communicate the message to your boss.
You don’t want to come off as though you’re undermining your boss’ ideas.
For example, if the idea given by your boss is not viable, you can look for one that is –then run it past one or two of your colleagues, just to get an objective opinion. After that, you can respectfully approach your supervisor, let them know why the idea would not work, and then offer a solution.
This will paint you as an effective communicator, courageous, and most importantly, a problem solver.
For open communication to be effective, you must have great communication skills. Work on growing your communication skills today.
4. See your boss as human
At work, you may see your boss as just that –a boss. However, if you truly wish to connect with your boss, you have to see him more than just your supervisor.
Your boss also has a family, friends, and a life outside of work. He too has struggles, hobbies, good days and bad ones too. How can you use this knowledge to form a fruitful relationship?
Take an example that your boss needs to sign off your work before you leave, if you give him the work minutes before the close of business, you’re depriving him the time he would have spent out of work. If you deliver your work on time, both of you are able to leave work on time. This timeliness and being conscious will help form respect, and a close bond between the two of you.
Moreover, when your supervisor sees you’re timely, they will start giving you responsibilities that could help boost your career to the next level.
Finally, remember the workplace is where you spend most of your time. How well you get along with your boss (and your colleagues) will affect how happy you are at work. The relationship can also affect the levels of stress you get while working.
What kind of relationship do you have with your boss, and how has it affected your career?
Perminus Wainaina is an experienced HR Practioner with over 15 years experience in executive recruitment and selection, training, performance management, and Kenyan labour laws.
He has consulted for firms such as Safaricom Sacco, Oxfam, Un Women, Pacis Insurance, Windsor Golf, Muthaiga Country Club, etc. Currently, he represents the private sector at KEBS in the HR standardization committee.