Manage your relationship with your boss

Published 6:51 pm Saturday, March 12, 2016

Who’s your boss?  Your manager?  What kind of person do you work for?  Everyone has a boss, even the top employee in the company.  Relationships with your manager can be strained and effect your productivity and enjoyment of your job.  Asa an employee you have a responsibility in the relationship and if you are a manager of others you have a real opportunity to establish and maintain good relations. It is a two way street.  As in any relationship , husband and wife, parent and child, each person can contribute or cause issues in making the relationship work.

An ideal manager will be involved in the following leadership activities relating to his or her employees.

• Set performance goals that are clear and measurable

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• Communicate regularly with employees on their performance

• Assist employees in understanding the goals of the company

•  Listen to employees and consider their thoughts, ideas and concerns

• Provide candid feedback to assist employee in development

• Provide regular coaching

• Provide professional growth opportunities

• Make training available

• Allow cross training and  involvement in cross functional projects

• Acknowledge contributions of employees

• Be a role model

• Actions are consistent with words

• Be an encourager

• Insists on accountability for delivering high quality results

Being a manager of others is a challenging responsibility and should be taken seriously.  Some think that leaders are born with leadership traits but not being born a leader a person can be developed into an excellent manager.  The desire must be present and the recognition that it can be developed with a lot of hard work and over time is necessary.  Change in a person’s attitude and focus is essential.  Some people have more of a natural tendency toward leadership and possess a more communicative style that make it an easier transition from employee to manager.  Often people are placed in manager roles because they have excelled in an operational or technical position and they make a very poor manager.  This is a frequent mistake made in many businesses.

What do you do if you work for a jerk?  You have a decision to make.  According to a Gallup poll, 82 percent of US managers are wrong for the job.  What can you do if you work for one?  And, what can you do if you are one?  The odds that you will work for an incompetent manager at some point in your career  are pretty high and it has a huge impact on engagement.   There is no easy solution to the problem of working for a bad manager.  You may eventually have to decide whether to continue working for the manager or leave your job.  The change can be to another position within the company with a different manager or it may be necessary for you to resign and leave the company altogether.   More people leave their jobs because of issues with their manager than for other reasons, including low pay and lack of opportunity for advancement.  If you elect to stay in your position, you can do some things.  Try to understand your boss’s personality.  It can make it more tolerable.  Trying to outdo your boss is futile.  The key is to have a better understanding of them.  They may be unique but they are predictable.  Figure out who she or he is, what they want and why they behave like they do.  Then make adjustments to your behavior to fit his or her personality.  Recognize that the only person you can truly change is yourself.


Becky Vaughn-Furlow retired from Trustmark Bank as executive vice-president and human resources director. She can be contacted by emailing