Eights Ways to Develop a Great Relationship with Your Reporting Manager

Employee Engagement, Employee Relations, Rewards and Recognition

The relationship between you and your reporting manager is fragile in nature. You may feel that you are walking on eggshells around your manager and even the slightest mistake or error of judgement on your part will make you look bad in his books. However, this need not be the case if you make efforts in building a good rapport with your boss.

You don’t need to go out of the way or sing praises to please him. All you need to do is invest some time in fostering a cohesive working relationship and mutually-beneficial connection. It will improve your productivity, boost your morale and make your work life less stressful. Here are some useful tips for developing a great relationship with your reporting manager:

1. Understand What Your Manager Expects from Your Role

When you joined the company, the HR department would have briefed you about your roles and responsibilities. It is advisable that you discuss your duties with your manager too. This would help you understand what your manager expects from you in terms of deliverables, align the parameters of your job to his requirements and eliminate any ambiguities. Knowing what your boss wants gives you clarity of purpose for doing your job better and reduces the conflict with him.

2. Get to Know the Communication Style of Your Manager

Some managers prefer to communicate via emails; some do it on the phones and some like face-to-face interaction. Some want daily updates; some are fine with weekly ones. Some will give you a detailed overview on what they want; some will be cryptic leaving it to figure out yourself. Some are open to suggestions from employees; some don’t like their authority to be questioned.

Take some time observing the communication style of your manager. This will help you to adjust your deliver what he needs the way he needs. The most important thing is to clarify your doubts on the spot if you have not understood the instructions clearly or else it may lead to miscommunication issues later.

3. Take Initiatives and Volunteer to Share the Burden of Your Manager

Do understand that your manager is handling more responsibilities and work stress than you, given his position in the organizational hierarchy. There may be days when your boss has a chock-a-block schedule, or there is a personal emergency at home when he needs a helping hand from his team. Discuss your manager’s workload with him and find out if he would like to delegate some of his work to you. Step up and take the initiative to share his burden even if it requires you to work overtime or work on weekends. Doing so will also position you for advancement opportunities and increase your manager’s trust in you.

4. Take Regular Feedbacks on Your Performance and Ask for Areas of Improvement

In most companies, formal performance appraisal is an annual exercise. It is during that time your manager tells you about your strengths, weaknesses and areas of improvement. Ideally, you should not wait that long. One in a month/quarter or after every project is over, set up a meeting with your manager. Explain to him that you want his inputs on your performance and are looking for ways to increase your productivity. Take the feedback in your stride and apply it to your work. This will prove to your manager that you really care about giving 100% to the organization.

5. Go an Extra Mile to Empower Your Manager

Your job is to stand by your manager’s side and support him as a strong team member. Anticipate his needs in advance. Let’s say; the manager has to deliver a presentation on last quarter’s sales performance. You could ask him what data he needs and have it delivered to his mailbox. Before any office meeting, be ready with the points of discussion and focus on providing solutions rather than pointing out the challenges and roadblocks. Going an extra mile in empowering your manager will further strengthen your relationship with him.

6. Don't Bypass Your Manager's Authority

There is a certain chain of command that every employee needs to follow in the organization. If you bypass your manager’s authority, it indicates that you do not respect him. It is natural that your manager gets upset with you, which will lead to friction in your relationship. Unless there is a serious matter of concern affecting your ethics, integrity and reputation in the company, it is advisable to route all communication through your manager or keeping him in the loop.

7. Handle Your Differences with Care

Sometimes, your viewpoints may differ from your boss, or your personalities may clash. In these cases, it is advisable to keep your personal differences aside, act rationally and work for the better good of the company. Avoid discussing personal subjects that are touchy, back your arguments with facts and figures and do not raise your voice. In fact, it would be a good idea to sit down with your manager and discuss your conflicts to avoid any misunderstandings.

8. Be Empathetic. Put Yourself in Your Manager’s Shoes

Before you judge your manager’s ability or certain decisions he has taken, put yourself in his shoes. Think what course of action you would have taken if you were the manager. Managers also have to make decisions in the alignment of the company’s goals. Be empathetic, learn to appreciate his efforts and give him your unbiased attention instead of being resentful.

The above tips will go a long way in cultivating a productive and happy relationship with your reporting manager.

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