Most people forget (whether employed or freelance) that it's not just their boss who is managing them — they also have to manage their boss. This means building a healthy, two-way relationship in order to best accomplish shared goals.
If you manage this relationship well, you create the foundations for your future success. Remember as they are your boss, you do need them unless you are considering leaving your career. Likewise, you'll be more engaged at work, produce better results, and develop your own skills faster if you feel you and your boss play on the same team.
So, here are six great ways to improve your relationship with your boss.
1. Manage Up
Sometimes you have to manage "up" and not wait for direction from your boss. This means taking a proactive approach. At its simplest, your boss will think that if he/she doesn't think of something you will. Also, it shows a level of dedication and interest from your side which is conducive to building trust.
2. Make Their Life Easier
1. Caring about the person.
2. Caring about the things the person cares about.
When someone feels you care, the relationship moves beyond the work and trust is built. Your job is to make your boss’s life easier. Don't forget that. Their job is to make sure that you deliver results. When you are actively making their job easier, you've created a great relationship.
3. Understand Expectations
Asking your boss, "What's the best way for me to support you?" with clear expectations of what that looks like can lead to a highly successful relationship. most relationships break down due to lack of communications about expectations. Your work should make your boss look better, if you provide sub-standard work, you're directly offending your boss's sense of pride. Their success is your success.
4. Establish Boundaries
When you work for a boss they are in effect one of your clients. They need to respect you and see you as a reliable and responsible person. You need them to be happy enough to want to keep retaining you, but you never want them to feel that they have full ownership. It's critical to establish firm boundaries in regard to how you allow yourself to be treated, for example, midnight emails, or accessibility outside of work. If you respect yourself, they will respect you. In addition, socialising with your boss or really letting loose with them, breaks all boundaries. It's advisable if you want a healthy, long-lasting relationship, to keep it professional.
5. Prove you are dependable
You are either making things easier or more difficult for your boss, as discussed. If you want to build and foster a healthy relationship with your boss, do your own job as best as you can, never let your standards slide. Once you have established trust, your boss will consider you for other jobs or projects and in turn, this will quickly advance your career.
6. Bring solutions, not problems
When you have a problem before bringing it to your bosses' attention first think what the solution could be. Alternatively, if your boss approaches you with a problem, help them to find solutions. Take the onus off of them to solve it. Be a reliable resource and support for them.