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How to score points with your boss
Deeksha Singh
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August 15, 2008

People don't leave jobs -- they leave their bosses" is an age-old cliche. This statement almost makes bosses look like much-hated autocrats.


However, if you were to dig deep into the boss-employee relationship, it's not always the boss who is to blame. The responsibility of building a strong relationship lies equally on the employees as well.


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So, to improve your relationship with your boss, here are a few easy tips:


Be supportive
Support your boss with last-minute presentations, paperwork or arranging a meeting with clients instead of spending time over a gossip session. These are the small things that will strengthen your relationship with your boss and get you noticed. Every boss loves the team member who helps them with the finer details and makes their life a little easier.


Extend respect
Listen to your boss and respect the fact that s/he also has relevant experience and is acting in the company's interests. His/her goal is to make sure that there is a consensus within the team.

A few interaction skills that make a big difference to a respectful atmosphere in your organisation include not interrupting conversations, asking if the person has time to talk and listening to ideas. Remember not to be a know-it-all or in such a hurry that you finish the other person's sentence.


Be sure to comment on their ideas to let them know you have really been listening, not just waiting for them to take a breath so you can jump in with your agenda. Being skilled and intelligent is no compensation for the lack of life experience.


Be genuine
Never try to fake it when you are actually not interested in listening and taking instructions. Be genuinely interested in what s/he is saying. Try and understand his/her point of view and act accordingly. It is always advisable to revert to your boss in case you do not have clarity on a certain issue. Seek his/her support to prepare an action plan. A genuine interest will help you develop trust required for a professional relationship. Take keen interest in new projects and do some due diligence to make it a success.


Communicate honestly
Try to communicate transparently. Don't make commitments that you cannot keep; this will call for some amount of planning from your side. Deliver information which is true and based on facts -- this will not only make you credible, your colleagues will look up to you for support.


Most bosses have a knack of remembering what you say and a commitment that was not met may haunt you after six months during the performance appraisal discussion. A little bit of caution can save nasty surprises towards the end.


Appreciate your boss
Your boss does care what you think about them, s/he however does appreciate your mentioning his/her good work. When you do recognise  job well-done, be specific in your compliments. Refrain from saying in an off-handed manner, "Oh, great work, boss." Make it more personal: "Boss, that is the best research that has come across my desk in the last six months. Excellent work. If your boss comments, "Good presentation." Refrain from saying, "Oh, it was nothing." Deflecting a compliment often draws unwanted attention and belittles both you and the person offering the compliment. Just say, "Thank you." 


Don't lock horns with your boss
Bosses don't like nor do they cooperate with people who they think are against them. When you are against something, the person thinks you are against them personally. Once you voice your opposition to another person's idea, you become part of the problem. It's as if a war has started with each of you fighting to be right. When you are for something, you begin focusing on the potential for positive change. You start the process of collaboration.


Some people carry this inward, self-focus into the workplace which leads to professional relationships turning sour. Make sure that you play an active role in building a strong relationship with your boss rather then expecting to be pampered all the time.


Deeksha Singh is a managing partner & head -- Business Development at WCH Training Solutions, a New Delhi-based training and consulting firm. 

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