How to Build a Good Relationship with Your Manager
Starting Your New Job

How to Build a Good Relationship with Your Manager

5 min read

 

Let’s face it – you’re in control of the relationship you have with your manager. Besides successfully maintaining a company, one of a managers’ top priorities is to hire capable, hardworking employees to help reach business goals. Knowing that managers spend a lot of time with their staff, it’s beneficial for both parties to build solid relationships.

From your first day on the job to your last, you have daily opportunities to build a good relationship with your manage–starting by initiating involvement, demonstrating your skill set, creating open channels of communication, and vocalizing your thoughts and ideas.

Initiate and Demonstrate

Every manager wants a company filled with productive, passionate, and motivated employees. However, this kind of worker is in short supply as sources report that only 29% of employees are actively engaged in their jobs. This lack of engagement can be particularly strong in tech, which has one of the highest turnover rates of any industry.

This is a huge problem, but therein lies your mission:  make yourself stand out amongst coworkers to show you want to be part of the team.

f you work in an environment where pitches and ideas are constantly flowing, don’t be afraid to contribute. If suggestions aren’t publically circulated, jot down your ideas and take the initiative to set up monthly meetings with your manager. Schedule a performance review every six months or once a year. This is the perfect opportunity to discuss current work, present ideas for the future, and to make sure your projects are on track with company goals and strategies.

Initiation and creativity move the workplace – so put yourself out there!

  • Promote yourself and your achievements
  • Don’t doubt your capabilities
  • Think as a team member, not as an employee
  • Speak up and share your ideas
  • Over-deliver on tasks
  • Ask too many (smart) questions

The more you engage, the more your manager will see that you’ve invested in growing with the company, which will lead to a solid relationship between the two of you.

It’s All about Clear Communication

There’s no doubt that our bosses have busy schedules, and you may also be somewhat hesitant to cross that perceived boundary of formality. Don’t let any of that stop you — sometimes it takes being proactive to initiate the interaction you desire.

Ultimately, if your communications are positive and viewed as a valuable component to the bigger company picture, they will be welcomed – and particularly welcome in tech industries. It’s best not to be overly self-promotional, but the fact that you’re bringing thoughtful input into the mix will paint you in a favorable light. Communicating on a regular basis will establish you as an employee that is engaged with their own work and what you do within the company.

Career expert Alison Green suggests that when reaching out to managers, it’s best to discover their communication style and preferences, then speak their language. If emails are preferred, brush up on your email writing skills. If they have an open office door policy, don’t be afraid to check out their calendar and pick a time that works for both of you to talk. Whatever your manager’s style is, it’s up to you to create a clear path of communication and to maintain it.

Tips to Communicate Effectively

Communicating at work may seem easy, but it does takes a bit of finesse. Follow these five tips from How Stuff Works to better your workplace communication:

  • Give and receive feedback
  • Respect cultural differences
  • Trust your team
  • Keep emotions at a minimum
  • Don’t just hear — listen to what’s being said

 

Step It Up – Bring Solutions

You were hired because of a specific skillset or demonstration of character that your manager identified and was drawn to. Expand on this by making you, your ideas, and your opinions valuable. Since 81% of new hires don’t stay with a company, step up your game and be one of the 19% that stays. It’s up to you to come up with solutions as conflicts arise and show what you’ve got! Your dedication will be apparent.

Problems are unavoidable in the workplace – but don’t put all the weight on your boss’s shoulders. See if you can help expedite a better situation or a solution. Career Attraction points out that when you’re working on a temp basis, it’s important to demonstrate that you’re not acting like a temp — you’re interested in adding value beyond your role.

When you encounter a challenge, take ownership of the problem and research how you can solve it before approaching your manager. Not only are you showing you’ve done your homework and made an effort to teach yourself, you’re helping your manager balance other responsibilities, which will always be appreciated.

Be Vocal

From your first day at a job, make it a goal to become a regular contributor. Stand apart from the 79% of employees who believe they have a significant engagement problem. Whether it’s in a one-on-one chat or monthly company meeting, take a moment to prep yourself with questions, pitches, and how many times you plan on participating. As projects come along, make it a priority to keep managers and fellow co-workers updated on what you’ve been working on and how it aligns with their goals.

The most important tip? Don’t be afraid to ask questions.

According to Harvard Business Review,Even when the minority points of view are wrong, they cause the rest of the group to think better, to create more solutions, and to improve the creativity of problem-solving.” Contributions are always valuable!

If your questions may be challenging or seen as combative, soften the blow by starting out with a summary of the thoughts presented so far, emphasizing the strongest parts.

Speaking from as positive a place as possible, tell your story from the standpoint of building on what is already in place, and don’t criticize anything without either providing a solution or opening the team for further discussion.

Good language includes:

  • “Building on that,”
  • “To [teammate]’s point…”
  • “Yes, and…”
  • “To add to that…”

As success expert Judy Ringer suggests, never blame, sell or accuse. Instead, seek to understand both your story and theirs, communicate that you’re as interested in their piece as yours, and understand that this is a team effort – your best ideas may not be the ones that are used.

By starting out with a positive note, you emphasize a mindset that everyone is on the same team, and that you’re sharing each other’s successes as you move forward. This keeps the conversation healthy and noncombative as you progress towards a better goal.

Speaking Up At Work – Don’t Be Shy!

Since the average employee spends one third of their work week in meetings, this presents the perfect opportunity to vocalize yourself to coworkers and managers. Here’s how:

  • Speak up within the first 10 minutes of a meeting
  • Your ideas are valuable – don’t underestimate them
  • Ask questions and welcome constructive comments
  • Do light research and come prepared with ideas, topics, and questions

 

Remember Your Boss Is Human Too

Don’t let your manager’s tight schedule and professional game face take away from the fact that you need them to help you grow. Remember that your manager is just like you: a person with responsibilities to fulfill.

50% of Americans work more than 40 hour weeks — this means that a lot of time is spent with your managers.  Get to know them! Make them notice the great qualities that you continually display, both in and out of the workplace.

Maybe you share a favorite sports team or weekend activity. Take a moment to ask your manager about their weekend or if they did anything fun. Connecting on a less formal, more personal level strengthens your manager-to-employee relationship and creates a stronger sense of authenticity. It’s real!

When you go the extra mile and take the time to develop a good relationship with a manager, not only will you enjoy working with each other, but your chances of landing a spot on a new project or scoring a promotion will almost always increase. Your manager will see you as a reliable, dedicated, high-value asset to the team, and you will most certainly enjoy the rewards that result from your efforts.

Your story starts here.

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