How is your relationship with your boss? If you often butt heads or haven’t really connected on any level, this probably isn’t good for your career. “Many careers are dependent upon a boss for promotion and it’s stressful to have unpleasant interactions for both the employee and the boss,” explained professional business coach Marian Thier, founder of Expanding Thought. A bad relationship with your boss makes for a negative work experience and “When there’s conflict between parties, work suffers in the form of poor decisions, innovation, collaboration, and communication.”
A bad relationship with your boss could be due to a number of things. “Although it is uncommon for a boss to actively dislike an employee, it does happen,” Thier noted. “Sometimes it’s a power struggle, sometimes it’s misinformation, sometimes it’s different styles, and sometimes it’s miscommunication. Whatever the cause, the employee might only see the boss’s actions that lead the employee to think the boss does not like him or her, like never seeking your input. “When they don’t include you in big decisions related to your sphere of influence, it may be because your boss doesn’t trust your opinion,” reported Business Insider. Other telltale signs, according to the site, are “they just aren’t pleasant around you like they are to your co-workers;” and they “micromanage you, and only you. Bosses micromanage for a number of reasons: a need for assuming constant control, or insecurity at some level.”
While surviving a job with a boss who doesn’t like you might seem hopeless, it is possible to get on your supervisor’s good side–and you don’t have to be a brown noser to do so. You do have to learn how to beat them at their own game, however, and here are a few ways to do it.
–Be a great employee. “Your first step is to ensure you’re an awesome employee that’s truly adding value to your organization. Do your best work. Chime in with constructive ideas in team meetings. Stay far away from office gossip. Your attitude and high quality work will be a constant reminder to your boss of why exactly she hired you in the first place,” reported The Everygirl.
–Make your boss look good. Remember if you fail, your boss fails too. “Your boss will be blamed for your mistakes. Badmouthing your boss to company higher-ups and coworkers won’t get you points. The perception will be, if you will talk bad about your boss behind his back then you’ll talk bad about others, too,” executive coach and negotiation expert Linda Swindling, author The Manager’s High-Performance Handbook, pointed out.
–Offer to pitch in. “Ask if there is anything else he/she needs done; offer to take on additional projects and inquire how you could be of more help/service to your boss,” said life and business coach Judith Rapley Waterman of JMR Coaching & Consulting Services. “Also assist and support other team members to show you want the success of others as much as you want it for yourself.”
–Be a self-starter. “Make your own decisions and develop your own solutions. Bosses are constantly being approached for time, resources, funding and to make decisions. Don’t make the mistake of running to your boss too early and expecting the boss to do all the work. Bosses love it if you formulate your own solutions and decisions and then come to them for final approval,” suggested Swindling.
–Earn trust the old-fashion way. When it comes to trust you have to show and prove. “Telling your boss he/she can trust you isn’t enough. Actions are more important than words. You have to prove it by being consistent, knowing your stuff and doing what you say you are going to do,” said Swindling.
–Ask for feedback from your boss, but in moderation. “Yes, all bosses are different. But, one rule holds true across the board: All managers love an employee willing to take initiative. Proactively asking for feedback from your supervisor is a great way to demonstrate that you’re constantly looking for ways to grow and improve,” reported The Everygirl. ”
–Communicate clearly. “Communication is key in any relationship. But, it’s definitely crucial when it comes to relationships between superiors and subordinates. Your boss needs to be in the know about what’s happening! But, at the same time, you don’t want to overwhelm him or her with constant updates and unnecessary information,” reported The Everygirl. “If nothing else, don’t be afraid to set up a quick meeting to talk it out with your manager. Getting on the same page about preferred communication right from the get-go will only make both of your lives easier, and your relationship even stronger!”
–Make small talk. You don’t need to have deep conversations with your superior but take time to ask about her weekend or her family. Making small talk opens up other lines of communication.
–When your boss excels, congratulate him/her. “Your boss needs a pat on the back too. We all expect feedback about our performance from our boss – but many people don’t give their boss feedback. If your boss does a nice job giving a presentation at a meeting, tell him! It’s not kissing up if it’s a sincere compliment. Many people only go to their boss with criticism and not compliments,” said Swindling.
–Realize your boss is human and that their job isn’t easy. “Practice empathy. It’s important to take a deep breath and always give your supervisor the benefit of the doubt, even when things get tough. Remember, your boss isn’t only responsible for her own pieces of the puzzle—she’s also in charge of ensuring the quality of work produced by you and your co-workers,” reported The Everygirl.
–Look ahead. One way to get ahead is to envision your future–and your current boss can affect your future. “Focus on the future more than the past. It’s okay to have a few bragging rights from past success–but use past accomplishments as a way for others to gain confidence in you and not a reason to slack off. What you can add to future projects is what your boss cares about,” said Swindling.