Let’s face it. Some bosses deserve a mug that calls out how great they are at their jobs. Other bosses will only get one if they buy it for themselves. Not every boss is a great leader, and not every great leader is a boss. Deciding whether someone is worth following isn’t always about the title they hold or the authority they’re given. But that doesn’t mean that you can’t have a better relationship with the boss you have.

Here’s some advice from some seasoned professionals on how to make your relationship with your boss as good as it can possibly get.

View Them as an Employee

Sometimes the best thing to do for your relationship with your boss is to start viewing them as an employee and not just as a boss. Employees answer to their bosses. Employees are expected to perform. If employees don’t perform, they have repercussions. Employees have personal lives and work-life balance issues. Employees have goals and aspirations and are hoping they’ll be recognized for their hard work. The more you can choose to see your boss as an employee, the more likely you are to have realistic expectations.

Compliment Their Work

Feedback is good. Perhaps a better way to say that is that good feedback is good. You may not necessarily be invited to criticize your boss’s work. You are, however, just about always free to compliment your boss’s work. After a meeting has been productive or after a project has been successful, say something like, “That was really great…Appreciated your leadership on this.” A simple statement of positive feedback can bridge gaps in relationship and help you humanize the person on the other side of the desk. 

Finish the Job You are Given

This piece of advice is much less enticing or exciting…but it’s probably slightly more important than all the others. You might be a likable person. You might be funny, attractive, and qualified. You might even be overly qualified for your job or very well connected in your industry. But if you aren’t doing the job you’ve been given to do — even if the job you’re given seems beneath you or unnecessary — it’s going to be hard to keep a good relationship with you boss. Finish the job you’re given and you’ll likely have a better relationship with the boss you have.


 

Your ability to work well with your boss doesn’t entirely depend on your boss’s social abilities. Work toward doing some of these suggestions — and trying out some of your own — and see if you start to see a difference!

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