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How well are you managing your most important relationship in your role?

How well are you managing your most important relationship in your role?

Your relationship with your manager is arguably your most important one. Your manager determines your assignments and your future path in the organisation. He or she also provides political cover to help you get things done.

Following are six keys to strengthening this relationship:

1.      Know what makes your manager tick. What is his or her communication style? What are his or her aspirations, both professionally and personally? How does your manager like to receive updates? What are guaranteed ways to frustrate your manager? If you know the answer to these questions, you can help your manager succeed.


2.      Think about ways you can adapt to your manager’s style. For instance, if your manager is a bottom-line driver and you happen to be more of a process person, it behooves you to learn how to present ideas and updates to your manager in quick, bullet-point format.


3.      Make your manager look good, and never look bad. Almost nothing will hurt your relationship with your manager as much as doing something that reflects poorly on him or her. Meanwhile, let your manager have credit, because he or she will reward you in other ways if you do.


4.      Be on the same page with your manager. Your job description might lay out the formal performance requirements of your job, but your manager might have additional criteria. Sit down and talk to your manager to be sure you are both aligned about: key metrics for success, key initiatives to achieve, and the values you should demonstrate in your work.


5.      Figure out ways to get your manager more time and fewer hassles. Help your manager have the time he or she needs to be successful and move up. Take initiative. Solve problems. Don’t shift issues to your manager without ideas to solve them. Lead!


6.      See the good in your manager. Some employees have a tendency to want to see the bad in their manager, and many managers are not easy to work with. Even so, focus on what your manager does well, how you can learn from him or her, and how you can acknowledge your manager – without being a suck up – for their contributions and support.

For more ideas about how to improve relationships and alignment up, down, and across your organisation, contact Trumble & Partners.

Toby Trumble