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How to build the best relationship with your boss

Kate Allen, Executive Chair and Marketing Director, Allen Associates

When an Employee and their boss have a respectful working relationship, everything becomes a little easier: company meetings, one-to-ones, teamwork and even promotions are facilitated by a professional bond between working people.

While the boss’ top priority is likely to have hardworking Employees fulfil their vision for the company, it’s not unlikely that they crave a little more than small talk from their team. After all, they spend more time with their colleagues than anyone else.

Of course, there’s something in it for Employees too: the more the boss knows you, your work and your commitment to the company, the more likely you are to be rewarded.

Whether you’re new to the organisation or a veteran in the business, it’s never too late to build a healthy relationship with your manager. If you want to form a stronger alliance with them, you may want to consider the following five tips:

1. Assert your value

The first and most important step in building a positive relationship with your manager is to ensure you’re doing your best to add value to the organisation. Regardless of personalities or preferences, this is what your boss has hired you to do; it’s the least they expect. You could go out of your way to be the friendliest person in the office - it won’t help your case if your work is sub-par and you aren’t contributing to the business. Ultimately, your boss will respect hard work and dedication; prove your commitment to getting results and it will act as the foundation upon which your relationship can grow.

2. Watch and learn

For a professional relationship between a manager and their Employee to flourish, it’s important for the Employee to gain an understanding of how their boss works.

So, rather than sending a Facebook friend request on your first day, take some time to observe the company culture, and watch your manager closely. This will allow you to gain insight into how they interact with others, and what they value from their Employees.

3. Communicate effectively

It goes without saying that your boss needs to be kept in the loop regarding your work - whether it’s just a progress update or a notice of a particular challenge.

However, that doesn’t mean you should overwhelm him or her with constant taps on the shoulder, rapid-firing of instant messages or multiple emails filled with unnecessary information.

Getting a handle on how your manager prefers to communicate will help you in forming a professional relationship with him or her, but remember - just because your boss prefers monthly team meetings than weekly catch ups, that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t keep them informed of achievements, issues or changes in your work.

4. Respect their schedule

Most great managers make time for their Employees, whether it’s a matter of urgency or an informal catch-up to discuss progress and ideas. After all, they exist to lead a team to success. That said, respecting their time and appreciating their busy schedule will certainly earn you a place in their good books. If your boss is well-organised (and they should be), you should be able to get a good idea of their availability ahead of the working day. Take advantage of this to schedule in a catch up during a quiet period in their diary, rather than grabbing them for thirty seconds between meetings.

5. Take the initiative

It may seem like your manager has got everything under control, but that doesn’t mean there isn’t a task or two you could assist with.

Once all your work for the day is done, ask your boss whether there are any projects you could help with. Sure, you may regret asking when you find yourself deep in an Excel spreadsheet at 5:30pm on a Friday, but it will definitely aid the relationship, more than leaving early. Being innovative and taking initiative shows your manager that you’re invested in growing with the company: this alone is bound to lead to a better relationship between the two of you.

How have you built a better relationship with your manager? Tell us, and you might be able to help other Candidates. 

Over the last 20 years, we have grown as a business to become one of the leading independent Recruitment agencies in Oxfordshire, and in 2018 have opened our first London office, to service Clients in the capital.    

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