Most of the time we worry about connecting with our co-workers. But what about connecting your boss? It’s just as important.
“Bosses are people just like anyone else, and it's important to get along with all the people you work with, whether you are reporting to them or they are reporting to you. Connecting with your boss can make for a more comfortable work environment where you feel valued for the work you contribute and enjoy time at work,” explains Career Counselor April Klimkiewicz, owner of bliss evolution.
It is a wise career move to connect with your boss. “They are your pipeline to information and access to people who can aid you in your job responsibilities. And, most importantly, if you have a career track in mind, they are the ones who will help you get noticed and promoted,” Business Professional Development Consultant Marla Harr of Business Etiquette International points out.
But you don’t want to become a brown-noser. “Truly connecting with your supervisor is one thing, and complimenting your boss just to get in his or her good graces is something else. It's usually easy to tell these two things apart. People look down on brown-nosing because they can tell that the compliments are not coming from a place of genuine regard.
On the other hand, if you authentically appreciate something your boss has done, complimenting them for work well done is seen as a good thing. It's easy to see whether a person's motivations are genuine or not. Usually someone who compliments their boss is also someone who will easily compliment a coworker or a direct report for a job well done,” says Klimkiewicz.
How to Connect
-Talk the talk: “Find out what kind of communication style your boss prefers, and check in with your boss in this manner. For example, if you know that your boss likes to meet over morning coffee, schedule a time to meet them for a coffee meeting one morning rather than popping into their office randomly throughout the day.
On the other hand, if you like to pick up the phone to connect with your boss, but you know your boss prefers an email outlining updates and questions, try sending the email in the manner they prefer. Using your supervisor's favorite communication style to communicate with them will make things easier for them, and they will think of you as someone who understands them,” suggests Klimkiewicz.
-Use your access: “If your boss has an open-door policy, use it! Your boss is telling you that they are happy to be a sounding board for you and ensure you have all the information you need to get your job done. If your boss wants to set up a standing meeting or will allow you to just drop by, do it,” advises Klimkiewicz.
-Get a little personal: “Everyone's personality is different, and some people like to keep work and their personal lives separate. For these types of bosses, keeping the focus on work and how you can best support them works well. For those that like to share about their personal lives, remembering their kid's birthday or checking in about weekend plans they shared with you is a good way to connect,” says Klimkiewicz.