Updated 2/15/2021. Originally published 12/26/2016.

Picking Your Manager

You cannot completely control how those relationships grow and develop. A lot depends upon how much you have invested in these relationships or want to invest in yourself and the value in your life.

With your work, there is usually a monetary value that is important to you. Whether it is the money itself or what the paycheck will do for you, your dreams, and/or your family – the money matters. 

Who Controls the Money

Who signs that approval for the money you receive for the work you contribute to the business and its customers? 

Whether it is a physical signature on a timecard or an electronic approval to an online timesheet of hours worked – you need that relationship with your manager to work. Sometimes, it can be a difficult working relationship, and one that you wish would improve – quickly.

One of the keys to a positive and productive work environment is to have a good boss-employee relationship. This relationship is built from foundations that start with good communication in the workplace. 

One method is to change how you work with and communicate with your boss. Effective communication with your boss can help establish a working partnership and build trust between managers and employees.

Why? If you cannot communicate effectively, you will find it difficult to perform your assigned work duties and become productive. There are ways to change your approach with your boss and improve the working relationship. Tips include:

Adapt Your Mindset

Do not view it as a difficult conversation.  View it as an opportunity to have an open discussion and to learn. Assess your boss’s intention. You may feel belittled or intimidated, however, be cautious about assuming that this is your boss’ intention.

We cannot change others behavior;however, we can adapt our response to others – if we see value in that change.

Focus on Skills

Strong people have weaknesses as well as strengths. Identify where your boss excels and tap into those skills. Ask your manager for tips about the skills that you admire.

Ask for suggestions on how to improve your skills in that preferred area. Tie that skill to the team’s success or the best interest of the customers. 

If your manager is good at details, ask what is the preferred method or tool used to keep track of all those details?

If there isn’t a tool, research, and suggest one. Add value.

Assess Preferences

Understand your boss’s preferences, strengths, and weaknesses. Examine their preferences. For example:

  • How do they like to work?  Solo then review or by group input?
  • Is your organization a “meeting” culture?
  • Does your manager prefer verbal communication versus email?
  • Prefer short “hallway” meetings versus formal scheduled meetings
  • What is your manager’s  preferred ways of communication?
  • How do they like to receive information?

Your boss may prefer conversation via text, email, or in person. Adapt to the preferred method to promote effective communication. Whatever method you select, try to practice using concise, clear, and direct language. Prepare your communication in advance. Compare the results that you get when you use one method or another. Use the most effective method.

Develop the Ear

Your communication ability depends on your listening skills. Ask questions. Focus on what your boss is saying. Avoid preparing your response while your manager is speaking – listen actively, and then respond.

Create A Rapport

Establish your relationship with your boss. Invite your manager to lunch and preplan two to three topics for discussion. If lunch is out of your comfort zone, try meeting for a coffee break, an early breakfast, or an afternoon walk.  

Discuss common interests or current events.

Highlight Your Support

Figure out what your boss needs to exceed his expectations. Prove that you’re trustworthy and can do your job better with good, consistent communication.

In today’s global workplace, productivity cannot guarantee a raise or even a lengthy career. Increased productivity can improve your day-to-day work life – whether you stay at that role or use it to move on to the next opportunity.

Focus on One

Select one of the above ideas and actively test for thirty days. Measure the results. Then next month, add another tip. Repeat. Evaluate your working relationship and adjust where needed. Drop what isn’t working, and focus on the successful activities.

Positive, civil working relationships with your boss and peers can’t hurt and develop those strategies that will serve you well during this job and the next.

More than anything else, we spend more hours on our jobs than we do with our family and friends. 

Our workplaces are changing rapidly

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