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How to Work Better With Your Boss

You likely spend at least half of your waking hours at your job, often working closely with a superior. It should come as no surprise a good relationship with your boss is important not only to your career, but to your happiness at work—and even life. And while many supervisors are great leaders, mentors, and teachers, some may be harder to work for. No matter what kind of boss you have, you can enhance your working relationship with these seven tips:

  1. Be Trustworthy. Trust is the foundation for any relationship, and the same goes for your supervisor. Put your best foot forward and follow through on deadlines, do what you say you’ll do, and be on time. If you consistently do your best, you’ll gradually build trust and a solid relationship.
  2. Be a Problem-Solver. Many people make the mistake of seeking advice from their boss without first doing a little legwork. When you’re in a trouble spot, brainstorm two or three solutions before going to your manager with the problem. Your supervisor will appreciate your effort.
  3. Be Observant. Notice the times your boss is typically in a good mood. Is she a morning person? If not, that’s probably not the best time to approach with a problem or concern. Is there a certain time of the month when his workload weighs heavily? Then consider waiting to have that conversation about a raise or promotion.
  4. Be Open to Criticism. Negative feedback can be hard to hear, but try not to take it personally. Hopefully your manager only aims to improve your performance with the insights. Expect feedback to come, and prepare yourself to handle it professionally.
  5. Be Flexible. You can’t change your boss, but you can change yourself. This includes your attitude, communication style, and even expectations. Bending appropriately to accommodate your boss’s working style, personality, and communication can make or break your rapport.
  6. Be a Good Communicator. If you have a question or a problem with your work, don’t hold just stew on it. Set a time to discuss your issues with your manager and come to an agreement. It’s okay to be unhappy about being assigned extra work when you’re overloaded, but it’s not fair to your boss to just fume about it without discussing. Communicate directly and clearly and avoid going behind your boss’s back to others.
  7. Be Respectful. Yep, respect really is a two-way street. If you want respect from your boss, you’ll have to delve out a big helping first. Sometimes that’s difficult when your supervisor does things differently than you would, but challenge yourself to be respectful anyway.

Learning to get along with your boss starts with you. A positive attitude and an open mind will set you up for success as you build a great relationship with your manager. And when the going gets tough, remember it’s better to build bridges than to burn them. You never know how the relationship with your boss will impact your future.

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