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5 Ways to Develop a Better Relationship with Your Boss

 5 Ways to Develop a Better Relationship with Your Boss


Productive, respectful relationships between a boss and their employees is key to any company’s success. While the boss’ top priority is likely to have hardworking employees who fulfill their vision for the company, it’s a safe bet that they’d also like to have more than superficial relationships with the people they work with every day. After all, they probably spend more time with their staff than they do with anyone else.

Of course, there’s something in it for employees, too: The boss plays a key role in advancement opportunities, so the more they know you, your work, and your work ethic, the more likely you are to be rewarded.

A healthy, respectful relationship with your manager can improve your morale and productivity, and ultimately, it can boost your career. If you want a relationship that goes beyond “we get along fine,” here are five suggestions for building a stronger alliance with your boss:

Set Up Monthly Meetings

Your boss may be busy, but as an employee, you can and should take the initiative to meet with your boss one on one at least once a month. Use that time as an opportunity to discuss the status of your current projects, to present your ideas for the future, and to check in to make sure you’re on track with your boss’ goals and strategies.

Demonstrate Innovation and Initiative

Every CEO or manager wants a company full of motivated and productive employees. Showing that you’re excited to take on new projects will help both you and your boss be more successful.

If you work in an office where people are constantly pitching ideas for new products, services, projects, or process improvements, don’t be afraid to raise your hand and volunteer to take the initiative on something. If suggestions aren’t free flowing, keep a running list of your own ideas and offer them up at your monthly meetings with your boss.

Being innovative and taking initiative shows your manager that you’re invested in growing with the company, and that is bound to lead to a better relationship between the two of you.

Communicate Openly

How many times have you told your boss that one of their ideas isn’t so great? It’s a scary conversation for any employee, but it’s an important one.

The key is to remember that you were hired because you have a specific set of skills that the company values and, often, can offer a different perspective than your boss can. Feeling comfortable enough to disagree with your boss and have an open line of communication will build a strong relationship—one in which you know the best ideas will always rise to the top.

Remember, Your Boss is Human Too

Most leaders come to work with their professional game face on, armed with a to-do list a mile long. They spend their days focused on moving the company closer to its goals. However, even leaders appreciate when their employees see them as something more than the person who signs their pay checks.

Be Yourself

Many of us spend more time with our colleagues than we do with our actual families. And sometimes that commitment can cause friction at home or resentment at work. But unless your boss is famous psychic Theresa Caputo, they will have no idea that there’s an issue brewing in your personal life.

If there’s something at work or at home affecting your life, be honest and ask your manager for what you need and be willing to compromise, your relationship with your manager will be better for it.

Keep in mind, your goal shouldn’t be to become best friends with your boss. Instead, focus on establishing good communication skills and building trust—and the rewards will follow.

About Great Place to Work®

Great Place to Work® is the Global Authority on Workplace Culture. We make it easy to survey your employees, uncover actionable insights and get recognized for your great company culture. Learn more about Great Place to Work Certification.

Lauren O'Donnell
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