Having a good relationship with your manager and co-workers is very important. When you have a good working relationship with management, you become more secure, more involved and you will develop faster. Normally they are the ones who need to see talent in you, and if you have a good relationship with them, they will give you assignments and projects that will help you to further develop yourself. You are the one who needs to take responsibility for this relationship and you need to create this dynamic.

Here are five steps that will help you:

1. Show interest in your manager’s success. 

Surprisingly few people know how their manager’s success is measured. It’s hard to do a good job if you do not know this? You have to think about what is most important to them. You need to understand their priorities. Once you know what is important to them, it gives you several advantages: 

  • You can contribute in a more meaningful way. 
  • You can avoid assumptions.
  • You can prioritise your tasks better.
  • You build trust.

2. Open up and tell your manager about yourself. 

In order to build any relationship with another person, be this your mom, friend or co-workers, you will have to self-disclose. You have to make sure that they understand you as best as possible. He or she should know your strengths and what areas you excel in. You should tell them this, they should not have to guess or wonder. What kind or environment inspires you the most? How do you like to get feedback? What motivates you? The more your manager knows, the easier it will be for them to get the most of you. Structure information about you in positive statements. Talk more about what motivates you, what gives you energy, and what you appreciate. Talk less about what you dislike and what annoys you. 

When you open up to your manager, there is a higher chance that they will share more with you. Your working relationship will also improve which means that you will work better together too. 

3. Do as agreed.

Be responsible. Build trust with the way you act and behave. Once you have promised something, deliver on it. Act with responsibility and conviction and avoid being late or being unprepared. Let your manager and team know timeously when something that you are working on will be delayed.  Delays are normal and will pop up in most jobs and projects from time to time. What is important though, is that you communicate with your manager and let them know as soon as you realise that something you are working on will be delayed or will not be delivered as promised. 

If you promise to send an email to your manager during the day, do not do it right before midnight. If you said you were going to think about something, come back to your manager with your progress on the issue, if you do not have a solution yet, tell them. 

In general, managers do not like employees that use phrases like “it is not going to work”; “it is impossible” ; “ I do not know”, or “I cannot”. Rather say “I do not have experience with this topic, but I will check” or “I have not done something like this before, but let me have a look”. Always keep an open mind when it comes to the opportunities your manager believes in. 

4. No surprises. 

The second worst thing a manager can possibly experience has to be surprises. The worst is negative surprises. Your manager also has a boss, and they have a relationship based on trust. I am sure your manager has promised his boss something by a certain date. If you surprise your manager, he will have to surprise his boss. Rather become a staff member that the manager can trust and rely on. Even a positive surprise can at the worst be interpreted as poor planning. Maybe it was just luck?

Negative surprises indicate a lack of control and poor communication skills. If you see a problem approaching, let your manager know right away. Things rarely go according to plan, but whomever sees the problems before they arise, or become bigger, has the best chance of doing something about them. All good managers are ready to change plans if it turns out that things are not working or if an unforeseen problem emerges. If your manager does not know about the problem, they cannot do anything about it.

5. Set the right level of expectation.

Frustration directly comes from levels of expectation. If you promised your manager ten and you only end up delivering eight, they will get frustrated. When you have promised them seven and you deliver eight, they will be impressed. One of the most effective ways of creating trust between you and your manager is to deliver more than what is expected of you. The same goes for your progress. If your manager must constantly be checking up on you to ensure that you deliver on time, you have not done a good job of setting up the relationship between the two of you. Here are some ways to fix a bad working relationship between you and your Manager:

  •  Keep your promises. Meet your deadlines ahead of time. Inform your manager of progress you have made, before they ask you.
  • Do not assume, make sure. When your manager asks you to do something, do not assume that she wants it done immediately. Ask her when she needs it. Maybe she will say that she needs it by the end of next week, If you deliver on Tuesday next week, you deliver more than was expected and you will be perceived as skilled. But it will be pointless to work overtime on the weekend to deliver on Monday.
  • Create a buffer. If you are going to deliver something to your manager on Wednesday, have it done by Tuesday. If you need to be in a meeting at 9:50, be ready at 8:50. If you are going to present something and you have been given half an hour at your disposal, plan for 25 minutes so that there will be time for questions. If you have a budget that you need to manage during the year, try to have it ready in mid-December, not on New Year’s Eve.

If you follow this advice, you will become a person that others can rely on, and herein lies trust. The aim should not be to deliver the most the fastest, but to deliver in line or above the expectation that was set. Always make sure that you know what is expected of you and aim above that. 

Topic: Communication Power, Sweet Teams Are Made Of This