A good relationship with your boss is critical to being happy on your job. There’s nothing worse than doing a job you hate for a boss you can’t stand. When I found out we were getting a new director, I determined that I would have a better relationship with him than I had with his predecessor. I’m not his right hand man, but he values me as an employee and I know that he trusts me.
I Let Him Know I Understand He is Human – Do this without being disrespectful. Let him know you understand he is human without saying it directly. Say things like, “This has been a crazy day; I bet you are stressed out. Are you okay?” Stop by his office on your way out and say something nice to him. Let him know you appreciate the way he handled a difficult situation.
I Let Him Know that I Support Him – Do this without being a suck up. If you see things that you could do to make things run more smoothly, let him know. My boss’s second week on the job I went in his office and told him, “I want you to know that I like my job, I am paid fairly for what I do, and I intend to earn my pay. If there is anything that you would like me to change or do differently, please let me know and I will do whatever you need me to do for our department to be successful.” Throw it out there, but don’t overdo it; and only say it if it’s true.
Be Positive – Smile and tell him good morning. Don’t complain about policies, memos, meetings, the weather, traffic, etc. Say positive, up lifting things to him and to your coworkers. When others are complaining don’t encourage it. If there are rumors or gossip going around, let your boss in on it. Tell him things he needs to know. You don’t have to mention names. Say something like, “I feel like you should know that some of the office staff is concerned that there are going to be layoffs.” He might tell you how he’d like you to respond to such rumors, or tell you if there is any truth to them, so you can set others minds at ease.
I Always be Myself – Obviously we have to be professionals. There are times, however, when I say something completely unexpected, or off the wall, just to make him smile. Don’t pretend to be Ms. Secretary USA if in reality you are just a file clerk. Be the best file clerk on the planet, but don’t try to come across as anything you aren’t. If you are asked to do something you aren’t comfortable with, tell him what your limitations are so he don’t expect too much. My boss asked me if I could start handling a particular task that I was clueless about. I told him, “I haven’t had any experience with that, but I’m sure if someone could take a few hours to train me, I can learn to do it efficiently.”
I Am Always Willing to Do Anything That Needs to be Done – Your boss should never take advantage of you or ask you to do anything unethical. Other than that, be willing to do whatever needs to be done. Learn new skills, help coworkers who need help, teach others new skills to be more productive. What’s good for the department is good for you.