In many ways, building and maintaining relationships in the work environment is almost as important as your actual job duties.
Coworkers are obviously an important part of this process. Having a team to bounce ideas off of and pick up each other’s slack helps great companies succeed.
Managers, however, also play an important role in your feelings about your work environment.
Managers tell you what to do, they oversee your work, they give you advice, and sometimes, they have to reprimand you. As such, it can often be hard to find yourself in a position where you actually feel like you have a great relationship with them. But it can be done! Here’s how to build a better relationship with your manager:
Think on their level. People are always saying that you need to put yourself in others’ shoes, and that piece of advice can be extremely valuable when it comes to thinking about your boss. As a leader, they have to spread themselves among a whole group of people. As such, they may already have very little time to work with you as closely as they would like.
How do you make things easier for them? Think like a manager. If you know your manager has limited time, streamline your work. Present projects in succinct, easy points. Rather than going to your manager with a problem, approach them with a problem and three potential solutions. Make it clear when you need help ahead of time so that there are no surprises. Thinking about what your manager wants from you builds trust and makes everyone’s job easier.
Seize opportunities. Nothing puts you in your boss’s good graces like putting yourself out there. Whether it is taking on a new assignment or helping to clean up a mess someone else made, having that sense of teamwork and being up for any kind of task can make an impression on your boss.
Work within your means. Don’t ever say that you can do something and then fail to follow through, if you can avoid it. It’s one thing to take on a task that you’ll need help for, or that you’ll need to spend extra time on to complete. It’s another thing entirely to be irresponsible and bite off more than you can chew. Walk the line and know when to ask for help so that you don’t end up falling flat on a task that’s critical to the team’s success.
Be honest. Honesty is the best policy, and that’s true in building a relationship with your manager, too. Whether that means being up-front about how comfortable you feel about taking on a project, or offering your opinion in critical situations, honesty is always good. This, of course, has to be within reason. Don’t be brutally honest out of context. Try to find a nice balance and you’ll be much better off.
Make them your mentor. If you really look up to your boss, then why not make them your mentor? If they are up to the challenge, this can be a humbling, rewarding gesture that shows your manager you trust their guidance. While this isn’t recommended in all situations, with the right person it can kick off a great relationship and be mutually beneficial.