Do you dread going to work because the very thought of having to face your manager ruins your day? You have the right skill set to excel in your job, but you find yourself lacking when it comes to managing the relationship.
You often wonder: “What have I done wrong this time? Why is he so difficult to please?”
While you may not be able to eliminate every problem with your superior, the good news is that you can work towards building a better working relationship with him.
Here are 10 tips:
1. Establish clear expectations
Be clear about what your superior expects from you. Clarify all doubts; don’t make assumptions. Unmet expectations can be very frustrating for both parties and you may be perceived as being incompetent.
2. Present solutions, not problems
Most managers do not like to hear only about problems. When you present a problem, be sure to offer some possible solutions as well. Then discuss them with him. He may offer his own solutions or build on your suggestions — either way, you solve a problem and your manager thinks you have initiative.
3. Be dependable
Your co-workers may keep you at an arm’s length if you curry favour the boss and it will hamper your delivery of job assignments. Win the favour or approval of your manager with credibility, hard work and dependability.
4. Keep your boss up to date
Don’t keep your manager in the dark. Update him on every important milestone in a project you are handling, as well as any potential problems and possible solutions — unless he prefers to be kept posted only about the end results.
5. Do not humiliate your boss in the presence of others
Most superiors, especially Asians, are very concerned about “face”. So, do not embarrass your manager by putting down his not-so-intelligent ideas. Offer your opinion as an alternative without suggesting that your view is more superior than his.
6. Make your boss look good
Even when the credit is yours, do not overlook the role your manager plays in the team, whether or not he has direct influence on a good job done. Like it or not, you work as a team and he leads your team.
Let him share the credit and honour with you. Not only will he be pleased, he will very likely give you due recognition if he feels secure and is not intimidated by capable subordinates.
7. Embrace the differences
You and your manager are two unique individuals. Differences of opinion are inevitable. Learn to see things from his perspective and not insist on your way. Present your views and arguments respectfully. You may not like his decision but let’s face it — he is your manager, and he has the ultimate say.
If your views are constantly being sidelined, either he is very unreasonable or your views are not up to the mark. If the situation becomes intolerable to you, then a graceful exit may be the solution.
8. Be flexible
Working strictly within the boundaries of your job scope, as it was spelt out in your employment contract, may have an impact on your career growth. Drawing lines and refusing to take on other responsibilities unless he increases your salary may be within your rights, but it will not endear you to him.
Of course, if these additional responsibilities involve a steep learning curve, resulting in a drop in your work performance, then discussing the situation with your manager becomes necessary.
If your manager is reasonable, he will either employ another person or have the load shared among your co-workers. Your gracious working behaviour and your willingness to assume additional responsibilities will be appreciated by your manager and will work in your favour in the next promotion exercise.
9. Deliver what you promise
Making empty promises erodes your credibility. Do not promise unless you can deliver. If you are not entirely certain that you will be able to handle an assignment, make known to your manager your concerns but promise that you’ll put in your utmost and do everything within your capacity to accomplish the task. If necessary, get permission from your manager to enlist the help of another co-worker to assist you in the assignment.
10. Meeting deadlines
A failure to meet deadlines reflects your level of competency and poor time management. If you discover that meeting a project deadline may be an issue due to factors not within your control, inform your manager early instead of giving your manager an unpleasant surprise when D-day approaches.
Seek his understanding in enlisting help from co-workers. Alternatively, request an extension of the deadline.
Practise these 10 tips and enjoy a healthier relationship with your manager. If after trying hard, you still feel unappreciated and overlooked, then it may be time to move on to new opportunities.