What’s the difference between a boss who forgets your name and a boss who advocates for your success?
More often than not, it’s you.
In today’s world, opportunities start with your connections. Who better to connect with than the person in charge?
A healthy alliance with management certainly has its benefits, including making you more likely to be promoted or land a higher-paying job at a better company.
Your boss even has an impact on your happiness.
According to a study published in 2012 by the “Journal of Business Psychology,” employees who feel appreciated and supported by their bosses have a healthier mentality than those who feel undervalued. To get your boss to see and treat you as a valued asset:
Show Your Respect, Always:
There will be some bosses you don’t like very much. Your bosses will make decisions you don’t understand, some of which may keep you chained to your desk for long hours on the evenings you had plans.
Regardless of your personal feelings toward management, the key is to continue showing your respect.
“The greatest gift you can give your boss is respect. There will be times you disagree with their approach or their guidance. The way you handle those conversations will signal to the manager your level of respect,” explains Lynn Dessert, a career coach atLeadership Breakthrough, Inc.
She advises that these scenarios be handled politely, and without drama. For example, when you find yourself disagreeing with your boss, try expressing your surprise, and kindly asking for their rationale as a way of displaying your curiosity and willingness to learn.
This will be received far better by your boss than an approach that is confrontational or bordering on insubordination.
Let Your Work Speak For You
Regardless of how much you may like and respect your boss, a strong connection with management will only go as far as the quality of work you produce.
“Meet regularly with your boss to discuss mutually set goals. Never let your boss be surprised by some inability to meet your goals or your deadlines,” says Terry Fitzwater, an HR consultant at FLC and author of “The Manager’s Pocket Guide to Employee Relations.”
When you’re unable to deliver the work that’s expected of you, management may find themselves in sticky situations with their own bosses or their clients.
This can damage the relationship you have with your boss.
On the other hand, if good work is completed consistently and before it’s even asked of you, it helps to make your boss look good, and they will be more inclined to help you in return.
As Dessert explains, if your manager respects the work you produce, they will open doors to your career.
“Managers are in meetings where new assignments, employee development, and promotions are being discussed. Having an advocate increases your opportunities.”
Adapt Your Style to Theirs
Every boss will have their own patterns, quirks, and ways of doing things.
By aligning your actions with your boss’ actions, you’re making their life easier and leaving them with a good impression.
Sharlyn Lauby, an HR consultant and founder of the blog HR Bartender, says she found success with this approach as a young professional.
“I had a boss who came to work very early in the morning.My colleagues wouldn’t think of coming in that early. But I did. Not as a suck-up move but because he would walk by my office every morning looking for someone to go to Starbucks with him. I got quality time with my boss, which was in the best interest of our company, and the free coffee was nice too!” says Lauby.
She advises employees to study their boss’ behaviors such as when they’re in the best mood, or whether or not they make lists, and find ways to support their style.
Dessert agrees with this insight.
She also suggests the Herrmann Brain Dominant Instrument (HBDI) or career coaching to help you discover your own ways of doing things and how they can be modified to support the needs of others.
Make a Personal Connection
Your boss is a human before an employer. Showing your manager that you care for him or her as a person can go a long way toward developing a strong connection.
Doing so can also positively impact your career later in life, notes
Generation Y career coach Tracy Brisson, founder of The Opportunities Project. “Relationships are the currency of business in today’s economy and the more you cultivate them, the better your career will be,” she says. “Ten years from now, your boss could be the key decision maker to hire you as a contractor at a new organization. You might even supervise your boss!”
Brisson recommends asking your boss about their weekend, remembering their birthday, and including them on your list for coffee runs.
Showing a general interest in your boss’ life will demonstrate that you care for them.
However, while some companies have a more open atmosphere than others, don’t rush into having personal conversations with your boss. “I would suggest taking a pulse of your corporate culture. What do people talk about and how much detail do they get into? How much personal conversation do you hear at work? Adjust yourself accordingly,” Lauby advises.
Be Open to Self-Improvement
Part of management’s job is to help its employees become even better at what they do, improving the overall success of the company.
You’ll be more likable to your boss and you’ll benefit from enhanced skills if you’re receptive to the feedback you’re given.
“There are two things you can do with feedback: you can accept it or you can reject it. Always keep the mindset that feedback is meant to enhance performance and long-term viability,” says Fitzwater.
By understanding the ultimate point of why you’re receiving suggestions or criticism, you may be less likely to take feedback personally and more inclined to see how these changes can be good for business.
For those who feel as if they’re not getting enough information on their performance, Brisson suggests asking your boss how to best meet their expectations.
Making it a point to improve will demonstrate to management that you have the same overall goals for the company as they do.
Of course, while your boss is ideally someone who is invested in increasing your skill set, you may be stuck with one who has little to tell or teach you.
However, this should not stop you from becoming a better professional. “I’ve learned something from every boss I’ve ever had,” says Lauby. “Even if I learned I didn’t want to be like them.”