4 Ways to Work Well with Your Boss

It’s not a marriage. It’s not even a civil union. But your relationship with your boss is one of the most important relationships you will have in life. Your boss can sometimes make you or break you. Here are four tips to help you work well with your boss so you can have the job, money, and accomplishments you deserve.

work well with your boss

How to Get Along With Your Boss

1. Give Your Boss Feedback

One big complaint some employees have about their bosses is that they never get enough feedback. They’re disappointed when their good work isn’t acknowledged. They’re frustrated when they don’t think they’re receiving enough support.

But consider this: How much feedback are you giving your boss?

Employees often forget that their bosses are human, too, with the same feelings and same insecurities that the employees have.

Make sure you give positive feedback to your boss when he or she has helped you. Your boss is eager to know whether what he or she said or did made a difference. Your boss also will be more inclined to help you out again

This doesn’t mean gratuitous feedback. Most people can see through B.S. But sincere thanks can go a long way to developing a richer and more meaningful relationship with your boss.

It’s one of those truisms of life – most people respond to positive feedback whether they are the boss or the employee.

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2. Learn Your Boss’s Style

One of the secrets of success in your career is learning your bosses’ preferred communication style:

  • Do they prefer email, a phone call or an in-person visit?
  • What’s the best time of day to deal with them?
  • Do they prefer a “just-the-facts” presentation or do they enjoy having a more-expansive conversation?
  • Do they have a sense of humor? Do they want you to have a sense of humor?
  • Do they care about your personal life?

These are the type of insights that are helpful to know about your boss. Once you adapt to that person’s style, it’s easier to have a better working relationship. Also, realize that you might have a bunch of different bosses with different styles. You’ve got to learn to adapt to those styles.

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3. Use Email Professionally

The proliferation of emails has been a game changer. People now have access to you 24 hours a day. Be careful how you use it. Like a cigarette box, email accounts should come with a warning label: improper usage can be hazardous to your career.

Your boss might send plenty of emails, some that might tick you off. Never respond in anger or haste. Take time to collect your thoughts. If in doubt, write the email, save it and come back to it when you’re less emotional. Then you can decide if you still want to send it. Some of the best emails are the ones you never send.

Emails are a great way to keep your boss informed and also provide a record of your correspondence. When you just have conversations with people, people can later deny saying something. If you have it in an email, you’ve got documentation.

A good rule is if you have an important conversation with your boss, follow up with an email outlining what was discussed. This is especially important if you’ve agreed about undertaking a project and want to be clear on the parameters and the deadline.

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A reminder: in this era of texting, people often take short cuts in their communication. Don’t do that in an email. These are business correspondence, not notes to a friend about where you are going to party this weekend. Make sure you use proper grammar and spell check the email.

Don’t forget: you’re in a business setting. Don’t mix your work life with your personal life. If you have personal emails to send, have a personal email account and don’t use the company account.

4. Keep it Professional

Be careful what you tell your boss. Sometimes it’s easy to see your boss as a close friend and start talking about personal matters. That’s playing with dynamite. The boss is a boss for a reason, and this is a work environment. If you’ve got to share personal matters, find a trusted friend.

The Takeaway

You don’t have to love your boss. You don’t even need to like your boss. But following these tips can help you work well your boss and develop a productive, professional relationship that can get you set for the career you deserve.


michael ryan headshotMichael Ryan is a former vice president at The Arizona Republic who is now owner of Ryan Media Consultants. He is the author of The BOOM! BOOM! Book: Practical tips to make sure your career doesn’t go BUST!

Featured photo by Victor1558

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