Want a better relationship your manager? The first step may well be to improve communication.
Getting the message through to your boss isn’t always easy. For one thing, there’s an imbalance of power there that can make it difficult to be candid. For another, it’s often hard to get the timing right — you’re busy and so are they.
Some bosses might also be intimidating, while others can be downright frustrating. Thankfully, there are some things you can do to improve your communication with your boss, no matter what kinds of challenges you face.
Here are a few quick tips:
1. Don’t surprise them
It’s never a good idea to try to hide a problem from your manager. It can damage trust and your relationship. Instead, always be sure to keep your boss in the loop about any important issues that they ought to know about.
2. Ask for feedback
One of the most difficult things about managing others is providing them with feedback. It can be challenging to know how best to critique someone’s performance. So, you’ll improve communication with your boss if you actually get ahead of this issue and ask for feedback. Your boss will appreciate that you value their opinion and that you’re continually working toward improving your performance.
3. Make an appointment
Your manager is busy. So, it’s respectful to schedule an appointment when you’d like to meet rather than just catching them in the halls of the office. Attempting an impromptu meeting might not go your way. So, schedule your sit-downs instead. And, be sure to describe why you’d like to meet, briefly, when requesting the time.
4. Don’t gossip
Office gossip is a part of life. There are even some indications that a little gossip at work isn’t all that bad. However, going on and on about your boss with your coworkers is often counter-productive. Sure, it might help you bond with them a little, but it will also drive a subtle wedge between you and your boss, even if they never hear about it. Either way, it certainly won’t do anything to help your relationship or your communication.
Your communication with your boss will improve as you reliably demonstrate that you appreciate and respect their time. So, prepare well for your meetings together. Have a few items you want to discuss written down and move through them in a clear and logical way.
6. Be a professional
No matter how long you’ve been with the company, or how friendly you are with your manager, you should still always communicate with them as professionally as possible. Save the jokes and friendly banter for break times and after work. Being professional during your workday interactions will serve you well.
7. Have a solution not just a problem
Your communication with your boss could suffer if you’re routinely showing up with problems without any proposed solutions. Instead, try describing the challenge and then propose a potential fix. Even if you end up going another way, this will demonstrate your professionalism. It will likely improve the overall tone of your communications with your boss, too.
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