If you didn’t already know, the most significant factor impacting your job satisfaction is your relationship with your direct manager.
Not surprisingly, clients often bring me stories about the difficulty of working with their bosses. It’s not always that these supervisors are bullies or tyrants; it’s simply that many employees don’t prioritize building a good relationship with their manager.
The value of a good relationship is that it gives you a solid foundation when stressful times arise. Without one, you don’t have the open communication and sense of trust needed to resolve issues between you quickly.
If they go unaddressed, these are issues over which you could grow fatigued and frustrated—and eventually, quit.
Instead, you should have a strategic plan to “manage up” and figure out how to work with your manager more effectively. No matter how good or bad your manager may be, it’s vital—and, honestly, it’s your job—to make this relationship work.
Why leave the quality of that relationship solely in your manager’s hands? Here’s what you can do to take charge and start managing up.
1. Embrace the Mission
Your job is to support your boss’ success. That’s what you were hired to do. Managers don’t want people on their team who drag them down. They look for people to make them look like rock stars. Understand and accept this as your mission.
2. Develop a Positive Relationship
If you think about it, you spend more time with your manager than with nearly any other person in your life. Yet so many people leave the nurturing and tending of this relationship to chance—or neglect it completely.
Instead, intentionally get to know your manager as a person. I’m not saying you need to plan a camping trip or become best buds. But get a sense for who he or she is as a person. Where did she come from? How did she get where she is now? What are the lessons she learned along the way?
Simple questions that help you to get to know one another can go a long way toward helping you understand your manager’s goals, perspective, and behavior—and respond accordingly.
3. Understand His or Her Goals
All employees should know their direct manager’s goals, objectives, and desired outcomes. If you aren’t clear on those things, now’s the time to set up a one-on-one meeting to fix that. Why? Because everything you do is directly tied to that. By understanding his or her goals, you’ll be able to see how your work ties into the group’s success.
(Plus, by seeing how you’re part of something bigger than your day-to-day responsibilities, you’ll up your satisfaction factor at work, too.)
4. Anticipate His or Her Needs
Once you understand your boss’ goals, you’ll be better equipped to anticipate his or her needs.
For example, if you know that your manager’s goal is to sign contracts with six new clients over the next month, notice when there are high-priority prospect meetings on his calendar and ask what he needs from you to be prepared.
By asking for what your manager needs before he thinks to ask you for it, you’ll make a welcome contribution—without looking like you’re sucking up.
Read more at The Muse.