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5 Ways to Make Your Boss Your Biggest Fan

Topics: Career Advice

Like all relationships over time, our relationships with bosses can grow stale, distant, or simply confusing. And many Americans believe it’s a part of the reason their work doesn’t feel fulfilling. A recent study reported by The Muse revealed that 60 percent of people say that they would be more productive at work if they had a better relationship with their boss. What’s more, is that 70 percent of respondents said that they’d be happier, too. So how do we make that happen?

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(Photo Credit: Piotr Lohunko/

The bad news is that it’s not something that can happen overnight. But the good news is that this is a long-term investment. You’re not simply carrying out a one-time action that hopefully your boss likes. Instead, we’re providing you with five simple habits that experts and bosses themselves seem to think are the key to winning over your manager. Start applying these to your own work and see how it begins to transform your relationships in the office.

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Update Your Style

Roberta Matuson, author and founder of Matuson Consulting, suggests that mimicking your boss’s work style is a smart way to start winning her over. While it can be tempting to think that your work style is superior, that’s probably more likely to produce conflict than it is a change in other people’s behavior.

Matuson says it like this: “Get to know your boss’s management style and adjust your style so you are both aligned.” If that means opting for a different mode of primary communication, so be it.

Don’t Lay Blame

It’s easy to play the blame game. In fact, it’s so easy, a study reported by Fast Company found that about 50 percent of workers blame their co-workers for their own lack of productivity. What’s more, that same report highlighted a study that managers spend almost a quarter of their days simply managing conflict.

The answer is simple: stop blaming your co-workers, rightly or wrongly, for problems around the office. Rather than trying to leverage an opportunity to look better than someone, buckle down and find the solutions your boss is craving from you as members of her team.

Stay Humble

Your manager is aware that some of the menial tasks in your day are below your pay grade. “In fact, that’s probably why she hired you,” says Diane Gottsman, etiquette expert. But just because your potential exceeds making copies, that doesn’t give you an excuse to refuse or get upset at small tasks. Your boss is more than likely aware of your skill set, so do your best to show that your willing to do any job she asks. In the long run, it proves both loyalty and humility.

Keep Calm

We’ve all seen the t-shirts, posters, and coffee cups emblazoned with the immortal phrase, “Keep Calm and Carry On.” But it’s no joke. You may find that most people in this world aren’t so great at keeping said calm. Lolly Daskal, president and CEO of Lead From Within, recommends this strategy: “When everybody else is losing their temper or showing their irritation, the smartest thing to do is to keep your reaction level-headed and reasonable.”

Say “No”

This may surprise you, but according to workplace communications consultant Diane Amundson, good bosses are appreciative of an employee who can say no. Ultimately, if you’re on the same page with your boss, and you’re not simply using “no” as an opportunity to leverage power, the art of the “no,” is one that can be extremely beneficial for your team. Don’t doubt your instincts.

Tell Us What You Think

What’s your secret to a healthy relationship with your boss? Do you think it’s immoral to pander to try and win over your boss? Should we all just be grateful we have bosses in the first place? Share your strong opinions in the comments below, or join the conversation on Twitter!

Peter Swanson
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Ian BorehamHR ConsultantDawnaNancy Bortle Recent comment authors
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Mimicking style would be the worst thing I could do. My new boss is unorganized, uninformed about issues or office policies, and totally self absorbed in his own world. The problem is he thinks he is organized, informed and into all that is going on in the company. The same company I’ve worked for the past 20 years. He doesn’t think he needs my help on anything. My last boss of 20 years appreciate me helping organized things, he was… Read more »

HR Consultant
HR Consultant

The suggestions are good in general. Tailoring your style to fit your boss’s style is very useful and finding common interests, qualities that you can sincerely enjoy and appreciate make you more authentic. The show The OFFICE demonstrates extreme behaviors that fit these same suggestions where the change in behavior is inauthentic and it is very clear to everyone how phony one behaves to match the bosses style and ego. The irony here is we all work for an organization… Read more »

Nancy Bortle
Nancy Bortle

My boss’s style is the main reason he needs me! LOL Our company had a complete turnover of administrators this year. I’ve found that the number one thing was to make sure my new boss understood that he could trust me. Trust me to keep confidences, to make sure I turn out high-quality communication, trust that I can run the office in his absence, trust that I will take responsibility if I make a mistake and will take the necessary… Read more »

Ian Boreham
Ian Boreham

Good points – but mimicking style will not come easy to everyone. May have been a good idea to provide a bit more guidance on this point.

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