Nine Ways You May Be Sabotaging Your Relationship With Your Boss

For most working people, our jobs are only satisfying or fulfilling when we are working for someone we respect, and who respects us as well.

However, some of us suffer from bad relationships with our bosses. Sometimes, we inherit a bad boss. Other times, however, things we say and do can damage that relationship.

Here are 9 ways that you may be sabotaging your relationship with your boss:

  1. It is a mistake to forget that your boss is actually your client. Stay focused on understanding your boss’s priorities and problems so that you can provide the best solutions.
  2. Not making an effort to get to know your boss as a person is a sin of omission. You don’t have to be best friends with your boss. But making an effort to inquire about their weekend, or the well being of their families, will create an opportunity to get to know your bosses better. What are their dreams, goals and future career plans? How might these have an impact on your own dreams, goals and plans? You won’t know until you get to know your boss a bit better.
  3. Although good organizations make an effort to define expectations, not every boss is good at that. Sometimes, it’s incumbent on you to ensure that you are aligned with your boss’s expectations. How will you know if you’re aligned with organizational goals if you don’t ask your boss about this directly and often?
  4. It is also a mistake to neglect letting your boss know, on a fairly regular basis, about your contributions and accomplishments. Some people might think this is boasting. But many times, if you don’t speak up, your boss may be unclear about the value you bring to the organization. Providing a list of accomplishments, updated on a regular basis, works wonders!
  5. Don’t judge your boss too harshly or negatively for his or her mistakes. Never forget that your boss is human too. And that they are doing a difficult job. Being too quick to judge your boss is a mistake that can affect the tone of your relationship and career for a very long time.
  6. As a corollary to the last point, try to avoid harboring animosity towards your boss. Animosity is insulting to your boss, and unflattering for the person spewing the animus. If we constantly criticize our bosses, eventually they will find out what we’re doing. Sometimes, they pick it up from our body language. Other times, they may overhear us slagging them. Harboring animosity is tantamount to making our boss the enemy, which can be professional suicide.
  7. Try not to forget that your success is tied to your boss’ success. Find opportunities to make your boss shine. If our boss perceives us as key in his or her own success, we will move forward together. Helping our boss succeed is also a sign of our professionalism.
  8. It is a serious mistake to suffer the misery of staying with a bad boss forever. If your boss is not a good fit, or is somehow unethical in his/her dealings, it is crucial that you try to find another position or job right away.
  9. Trying to compete with your boss or position yourself as a replacement for him or her is a huge mistake that can set your career goals back profoundly. Upstaging your boss makes you look overly ambitious and disloyal. If you truly believe you can be a boss, then position yourself as a leadership candidate by working hard and producing superior results. Ultimately, you will find opportunities to move up without undermining someone else.

There are plenty of mistakes we all make in our relationships with our bosses. The good news is that there is a clear path to better employee-manager relationships. We need only keep an open mind and remember that both you and your boss share responsibility for a positive working relationship.

About the Author

Ines Temple is President of LHH DBM Peru and LHH Chile, as well as President of CARE Peru. Author of the book “Usted S.A.”(“You, Inc.”), now in its 13th edition. Ines is recognized as one of the top 100 corporate leaders in Peru according to Merco and Gestión, as well as the CEO with the best online presence in Peru in 2015. Featured columnist and blogger for Diario el Comercio, Ines has published more than 450 articles in magazines and newspapers in Peru, Latin America and the US. Her videos have over five million views on YouTube. She’s a member of the International Advisory Council for CENTRUM Católica and the Boards of Apoyo Comunicación, La Liga contra el Cáncer, Fundación Pachacutec, APD, YPO - WPO and Transparencia. She was previously President of Peru 2021, OWIT Peru, CADE Universitario 2009, as well as Vice President for AMCHAM Peru. Ines holds a degree in Business Administration from New York University – New York, USA and an MBA from Adolfo Ibañez School of Management, Florida, USA.

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