In your relationship with your boss, who sets the tone for the relationship? Your boss?
Test your assumption. You probably have more power than you think to shape the way you work together.
Ask yourself these seven questions to improve your relationship:
1. Are you meeting expectations? If you’re underperforming, it casts a bad light on your boss. That could be hurting the relationship. Her expectations likely go beyond paperwork to include your ability to share information and demonstrate loyalty.
2. Do you see your boss as your coach or your judge? Every boss is both. If you’re on your guard around her, you may be overlooking the ways she’s willing to provide support.
3. Does your boss trust you? You’ll need to demonstrate your competence and character—the two pillars of trust.
4. Do you see situations in the same way? Do you even know what problems your boss faces?
5. Can you see your boss as a person, someone who’s more than an authority figure? If you can see the world through her eyes, you can adapt your tactics.
6. Do you know your boss’s strengths and weaknesses? Build on her strengths, and help her compensate for her weaknesses.
7. Have you unknowingly brought your own emotional baggage into the relationship? Think back to past relationships with other authority figures.
It’s a crucial relationship, so it’s worth asking yourself the questions and probing for a deeper understanding. It will never be an equal relationship, but it can be a rewarding one.
— Adapted from “In Pursuit of a Better Boss,” Linda Hill and Kent Lineback, HBR blog.
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