You can excel in your career and have a great relationship with your boss while you do it. Below, I’ve shared nine tips on how to accomplish this. Take the time to implement at least one tip this week!
Tip #1: Do Your Job
It is important for you to understand your job duties. This will enable you to perform at your best during your working hours. If you are not completely clear, ask your boss to clarify. This can range from defining what your job is overall to how to perform a specific task or project.
It is better for you to ask your boss and receive clarity than to complete a task the wrong way. This can cost you and your team precious time, money and other resources.
Tip #2: Signs You’re Owning It!
This is where you take responsibility for your “side of the street”! Show that you can take responsibility for any mistakes or misunderstandings without throwing other people under the bus. Avoid trying to cover up mistakes; be honest.
You can show signs that you’re owning it when you perform at or above expectation without needing to be pushed to do so. Do your job and do it well! Remember, if you are unclear about how to do a specific job or what is expected, ask!
Tip #3: Ask for Feedback
When you ask for feedback, you are making sure that you are meeting or exceeding performance expectations. In cases where you could improve, this will give you an early warning, so you can make the necessary changes to get back on track. Try asking these questions to encourage feedback:
- What would you like me to start doing?
- What would you like me to stop doing?
- What would you like me to keep doing?
- What do you need from me?
Asking the above questions once a month or quarter should be sufficient to stay on course and your boss will come to appreciate your proactive attitude.
Tip #4: Provide Your Opinions and Feedback (When Appropriate)
Most managers want and will welcome feedback because most bosses want to make sure they are creating the best environment possible for everyone to succeed. If you are brand new to an organization, however, you may want to wait and show your performance before you offer feedback.
When you offer constructive feedback appropriately, you can be viewed as a resource to the team and company. Here are some suggestions for effectively offering feedback:
- Pick and choose your opportunities wisely
- Be prepared with data, analysis and facts to back up your feedback
- Remember, success isn’t measured by whether your boss likes your feedback
- Sometimes you win and sometimes you learn
Your boss may not always like your feedback, but you can learn from the interaction as well as from any feedback you receive in return.
Tip #5: Solve Problems
Work to be a problem-solver, not simply a complainer. Anyone can complain about a problem, but not everyone will work to solve it. Remember to suggest solutions, take risks to try new things, and do not get stuck on the notion of “this is how we’ve always done it.” Trust that you have experience and insights you can contribute to make a problem a thing of the past.
Here are some examples of phrasing that can be helpful when offering potential solutions:
- I have a couple of solutions to the issue we’re having with lower traffic I’d like to run past you.
- I have some solutions to our residents not attending events I’d like to talk with you about. How or when would be a good time to share these ideas?
Tip #6: Know Your Boss’ Language
Keep in mind that each person is different, so learn how your boss communicates. Begin by observing your boss and take note:
- What does he/she like? Not like? What are his/her pet peeves?
Do not get stuck on what you think s/he should be like. Instead, develop a game plan for how to best deal with your boss’ personality and language.
Tip #7: Speak Your Boss’ Language
After observing your boss’ language, you will understand how s/he works and you will be able to speak the language that s/he speaks. If you are successful, you will get you far in your interactions with your boss.
Remember that you should always ask directly if you are not sure what is expected of you. This will help to eliminate misunderstandings and miscommunications.
Tip #8: Communicate Your Goals
If you are successful, your boss will share in your success. Do not be afraid to share your goals with your boss. Here are some suggestions for how to share your goals with your boss:
- “I’d like to be a ______ in the future and would like your input as to what I should be doing now to be ready for that position.”
- “I want to demonstrate that I’m capable of doing more…”
- “I’m looking to strengthen my skill set…
- what would you recommend?
- there is a training I’m interested in attending…
- would you be open to cross-train me?
Again, your boss wants you to succeed as much as you do!
Tip #9: Help Your Boss Look Great
This involves taking responsibility for what happens when your boss is not around or near your team. Overall, focus on doing your job and doing it well! Give him/her a heads up when needed – reduce unpleasant surprises! Represent the team well when interacting with people outside of the team and remember to say good things about your boss publicly. Don’t gossip or vent about your boss to co-workers and watch what you say on social media! It may not be best to have your boss or upper management connected to your social media account.
Follow these tips and you are sure to build a great working relationship with your boss!
The Relationship Difference, President and Founder