How to Build a Great Relationship With Your Manager

There are few more important people in your job than your manager. A manager often has the capacity to make or break your move to the next stage in your career – not to mention to be the difference between an easy day and a hard slog. So how can you develop and improve your relationship with your manager? Let’s take a look at some top tips.
Jun 30, 2020

Remember that every manager is different

Maybe you were best friends with your old boss. Well, maybe you can recreate that at your new job – but you might not be as lucky the second time. All managers are different and prefer different types of relationships with the employees under their charge. You can’t assume you’ll be able to replicate the same thing elsewhere. But then, this goes the other way too: did you have a distant or fractious relationship with your manager in your last role? Maybe you’ll find a new world of sharing jokes and going for lunch with your new one!

Keep your manager updated 

If there’s one thing managers probably value above all else, it’s communication. Facing a serious problem in one of your cases? Bring your manager in on it early on before it grows arms and legs. If you’re currently overwhelmed by work, let your manager know so that he or she doesn’t keep sending you new clients (especially if you’re working remotely and your manager can’t see how long you’re spending in the office), and if you’re lacking enough work to reach your monthly targets then communicate that, too. From their point of view, it’s deeply frustrating to not be told these things and to try and run their department like a general trying to coordinate their army after their communications have been knocked out.  

Bring your ideas to light 

Are you sitting at your desk thinking of ways in which things could be improved within the company? Don’t let these ideas wither and die in the shadowy caverns of your mind: articulate them and allow them to emerge into the bright world, where they can grow strong and work some good. Your manager will appreciate hearing ideas from a variety of perspectives. Don’t be afraid to communicate yours!

Don’t just be a ‘Yes person’

Similarly, your manager probably doesn’t just want ‘yes men’ or ‘yes women’ around them, who are too afraid to speak out if they disagree. Well – your manager might want that in the short-term, given that it’s human nature to like being told we’re right. But in the long run, they most likely won’t appreciate it. Either way, a manager who only wants to hear good things about themselves and their decisions is not the kind of person you want to work for long-term. Practice offering tactful and useful feedback anyway, as it’s a useful skill to have for your career, and will come in handy in the next place you work. 

Don’t be afraid to ask for further opportunities

Is there an opportunity to meet some of your department’s key clients coming up, which your manager hasn’t thought to invite you to? Well, why not ask? Your manager can only say ‘no’ – but asking for these opportunities can only show that you are eager to engage, and your manager might remember that next time. In any case, it will be better for your relationship with your manager if you communicate about the opportunities you want to have, rather than simply waiting to be offered them and allowing resentment to build if you’re not (which could just be because your manager never knew you were interested).

Remember, your manager is an ordinary person just like anyone else. Yes, the nature of your relationship creates a few tricky dynamics to negotiate, but at the end of the day, building a good relationship is just like doing so with any colleague. Communicate well, act professionally, and hopefully, your manager will turn from boss, to mentor, to great reference to call upon in the future.

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