By the
Mind Tools
Editorial Team

Managing Your Boss

Developing an Effective Working Relationship

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Developing a harmonious relationship with your boss will benefit both of your careers.

Not only does your boss manage the everyday things that you do, he or she is the gatekeeper to many of the things you want. He or she controls items as significant as work assignments, promotions, increases in compensation... and more.

Aside from this, bosses also have a great impact on your everyday satisfaction: things like how they speak to you and the rest of your colleagues; whether you have to make an appointment to talk to them; and how rapidly and in how much detail they respond to your requests for input. All have a huge influence on whether you feel you have a "good" boss or not.

Although your boss is, well, your boss, this doesn't mean that he or she is the only one who can determine the nature of how the two of you work together. Just as you need to find out how your boss likes to operate, you can also do a lot to show him or her how you like to operate. And a good boss will be able to adapt his or her way of working accordingly, so that you can achieve more together. After all, this is good for both of your careers.

Making the Relationship Work

Having said that, you, as the subordinate need to shoulder much of the responsibility for shaping how you work together. Your boss has other working relationships to manage, so managing his or her relationship with you may not be at the top of his or her list. However, it should be at the top of yours!

You have to actively build the relationship – or else it has the potential to run right over you. Your boss' motives may or may not be aligned with what you want to get out of your career. When you're blessed with a naturally supportive and motivating boss, then building this relationship is not so much an effort as it is a joy. On the other hand, when you encounter a difficult boss (and you probably will!), or even just an inexperienced or poor boss, you need to draw on some key skills that will help you make the relationship work.


Yes, it's not actually possible to manage your boss – that's clearly the other way round. But what you can do is manage your side of the relationship with your boss, and that's what we're talking about here.

Strategies for "Managing" Your Boss

1. Accept that your boss is your boss

The first step in managing the relationship is to accept it. Failing to accept this is a problem that many ambitious people have, particularly if...

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