So you don’t have the best relationship with your boss. Actually, it’s painfully uncomfortable and you work harder at avoiding them than building the rapport. Tell me, have you taken a moment to consider that this is affecting your work performance, or worse still, your career?

Not everyone considers that bonding with the boss is imperative to a steadily advancing career. Yet studies reveal that employee productivity is directly linked to relationships with their superiors. And when you perform well, who do you think has the strongest influence in recommending you for a promotion? Needless to say that if you’re looking for a career with an upward trajectory, it pays to have a good relationship with your manager. It is just as important to your superiors that you have a good working relationship with them because, like it or not, you are interdependent upon each other. They need you to achieve the goals of your role so they in turn can shine in achieving theirs. Likewise, you need information from them to excel in your responsibilities. So now that you understand the importance of having a good working relationship with your superiors, how do you take the dysfunctional to the smooth sailing?

Clearly you should always be polite and respect your manager, deliver your projects on time and generally make yourself a valued member of the team. At the end of the day though you are all working towards achieving a common goal and it’s no secret that nothing dissolves awkwardness like a shared purpose. So let’s start there.

We’re all painfully aware that insecurity and nerves can consume us in a moment and as the panic rises, we lose all focus. Such is the impact of a strained relationship. But focused is exactly what you need to be. If you can remember to stay centred on the key purpose, those awkward interactions will dissipate. Keeping an eye on the end goal will help you to deliver a top performance. And if you are brimming with initiative, you will consider how you can make your manager’s life easier. That is, what can you give that supports the efforts and vision of the company? You may be the funniest, wittiest, most engaging person in the office, but if you don’t deliver quality work that meets objectives, it won’t matter how charismatic you are, you will not earn the respect of your superiors. And that of course is a recipe for a flat, unsuccessful career.

Now I don’t need to tell you that all good relationships are founded on trust and respect. And a lack thereof can see a relationship short lived. Or turn considerably colder. Consequently it is important that you deliver on your promises when stated. It will enable your boss to develop a level of confidence and reliance in you.  Naturally the standout employee who consistently performs and takes ownership and pride in their work is a future leader to be favoured and nurtured.  If you are at a loss as to know what is expected of you, ask for feedback. It will create the opportunity for you to ensure your achievements are known and recognition given in return.

At the end of the day remember that your manager is human. They too have their good points and their bad points and while they may not be the most approachable or the best conversationalist, your goal still remains twofold; create a working relationship that is easy, relaxed and enjoyable, and ensure that the two of you can work effectively together. So if you find yourself taking an awkward drive to your client’s office, don’t prattle on and overshare, keep it simple and ask work related questions, open ended are best; what strategy do you think we should take in delivering our proposal?

Most relationships take time to develop. If you recognise you have a dysfunctional relationship with your superior, address the issue early. The success of your career is worth the effort. As is your health and mental well being. So don’t make your relationship with your boss one of the challenges of your daily job role. Instead make an effort to connect and watch both the relationship and your career opportunities strengthen and grow.

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