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How To Build a Meaningful Relationship with Your Boss

First Published : September 6, 2019

Oh Bosses… either you love them with all your heart or hate them.

They are definitely a major influence in your career and work satisfaction. But while bosses own majority of the heavy lifting in building relationships with the team, I think that an employee also has to do his/her part to make it successful.

In the 17 years I’ve worked in both local and international companies, one thing that I’ve learned is that bosses are not ALWAYS the antagonist in the story.

Like in any relationship, to build a strong one, both parties – employees and bosses need to devote time to make it work.

The concept that the boss is the only one responsible for the employee’s satisfaction is long gone.

To really make it work, here are some career tips that will help you not only start a great relationship with your boss but also build a relationship that has a strong foundation of trust, credibility and loyalty.

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Nobody wants to go to work pissed off knowing their Boss is going to be the evil villain in the story.

Maybe, it’s good to reflect on your actions too and be honest with yourself if you’ve really given the relationship a chance.

Or if you’ve chosen to kill the relationship even before it begins.

Here are career tips that I’ve used that can maybe help you reflect a thing or two about your actions and maybe start a clean slate with your Boss.

1. Make an Effort

Yup, this is the first tip.

Make the effort to bridge and build a relationship with your Boss. You don’t need to make your Boss your bestie in the office.

But make a genuine effort to bridge.

Traditional management books will say that you must wait for your Boss to make the move but if you really want to build a genuine relationship with your Boss, then make the first move and be proactive.

Believe me, it goes a long way if the employee is trying and not the “wait-and-see” type.

Simple Tips on Making an Effort
with your Boss:

  • Greet him/her in the morning or when you start your day
  • Save him/her a seat in the next meeting
  • Grab coffee for him/her when you make a coffee run
  • Reply to their text messages especially about work
  • Reply "Thank You" after he/she responds to your request.
  • Try to get to know a little bit of personal details about your Boss. You’re not stalking him/her. Just remember names or if they have kids or like a particular hobby. Your Boss is human too that has likes/dislikes.
  • 2. Establish a Regular Touch Base

    Yes, your Boss should initiate this.

    But sometimes, your Boss may be swamped to even think about sending an invite or check your availability. Make an effort and set the regular touch base then.

    This shows your dedication and professionalism. This is a manifestation of your leadership and ownership.

    Take it further and not only send a regular touch base invite but also send an agenda before each meeting.

    Now to completely WOW your Boss, send minutes or follow up emails after your touch base.

    #Micdrop.

    Not only will your Boss be impressed but he/she will also have confidence in your work ethic and credibility.  

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    3. Do What You Said You Will Do 

    Nothing like building a perception with your Boss that you are unreliable and can’t be trusted with your word.

    If you say that you will submit the work on a specific day, then beat the deadline and send the work early.

    Have integrity. It will not only build credibility, but you will also gain the respect of your Boss.

    Make sure that you have ample time to complete the task and if you won’t be able to make it due to any reason, let your Boss know of the progress. Build the right work habits at work that will help you in your career.

    Keep the lines of communication open and stay true to your word.

    This is part of developing your leadership skills, time management and ownership.  

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    4. Know What's Important To Your Boss

    Keep tags on your Boss’ pet peeves and what makes him/her impressed.

    If your Boss hates being late and when people are late, then show up way ahead of the time on every single meeting.

    As you work more with your Boss, keep a list of things (written or mental) that will either make your Boss upset and be mindful of it.

    A great way to understand more of your Boss’ pet peeve is through the regular touch base meetings. Your interaction with your Boss will help you understand his/her perspective and the reason behind the pet peeve.

    If you did anything that displeases your Boss, own up to it and remember for next time. Your Boss will appreciate your ownership and will build confidence in your professionalism over time.

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    5. Appreciate Your Boss

    Being a people manager is not the easiest thing to do but it is definitely one of the most fulfilling. The best part of it is being a witness to your team’s success.

    Unfortunately, it is a thankless job. People tend to expect that what the Boss does is the “minimum expectation” even if really, it isn’t.

    Appreciate your Boss whenever he/she makes an effort.

    It won’t hurt to let them know that they are doing something right and are nailing it their initiatives. Believe me, a little bit of thanks goes a long way for your Bosses.

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    It will fuel them to do more and keep going especially when the times are tough.

    Building a meaningful relationship with your Boss is possible. And it doesn’t always have to be the ownership of your Boss to make it more meaningful.

    As an employee, it’s important that you also make a genuine effort to make it better.

    Reach out and take initiative.

    Not only will it create an environment that will foster good relationship but it will also take your career to the next level because being proactive will foster ownership, accountability and confidence.

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    About Daisy Casio

    Daisy Casio is a Passionate Operations Leader with over 16 years of work experience in various leadership roles. She has run diverse teams in multiple locations and has built teams from the ground up. She is the Founder of ChampLeaders Blog dedicated to transforming leaders to Champions. She writes about leadership, management, productivity, career tips, team engagement and many more. 


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