Even the best office relationships hit a rut, but if it’s your relationship with your boss that’s suffering, work can be especially challenging. Maybe you’ve lost their trust, or you haven’t been Seeing Eye to eye lately, or maybe you’ve never really gotten along. Whatever the reason, how can you build a connection that’s more than “just OK”? What steps can you take to improve your interactions? And are there times when you have to accept that the relationship may never get better?
What the Experts Say
Having a positive, productive, and healthy relationship with your boss is critical to your professional success, says Linda Hill, professor at Harvard Business School and coauthor of Being the Boss: The 3 Imperatives for Becoming a Great Leader. Being on great terms with your manager helps you “stay aligned with the priorities of the organization, understand its constraints, and get access to the resources you need to get things done,” she says. Work is not a popularity contest, but “the reality is, your boss’s opinion of you matters,” says Jean-François Manzoni, professor of management practice at INSEAD. It matters for “functional reasons” because of the “control or influence your boss has over rewards like special assignments, your visibility, and compensation.” But it also matters for psychological reasons. “We are wired to please authority figures,” he says. “When your boss doesn’t like you, it’s painful.” Here are some strategies for interacting with your manager to get what you need, support your boss’s success, and excel at your job.