Wake Forest University expert offers five tips for creating a good working relationship
WINSTON-SALEM, N.C., Oct. 14, 2011 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- Knowing how to handle a difficult boss can mean the difference between being happy and successful at work, and dreading every morning's alarm clock. With National Boss' Day just around the corner on October 17, 2011, the best present you can give yourself and your supervisor is a great working relationship. Evelyn Williams, a professor and associate vice president of leadership development at Wake Forest University Schools of Business, has five tips to get you started.
1. Your boss is probably not really a psychopath.
Despite a recent study that says 1 in 25 executives could be diagnosed as a psychopath, chances are you're working for a boss who is stressed out, not morally bankrupt. "If your boss is under enormous stress, they may make decisions due to the circumstances. That doesn't mean they have a personality disorder," Williams says. "But they might be making decisions without considering the full impact on employees."
2. Recognize that you have a mutually dependent relationship.
Your boss signs your paychecks, and you do the work that gets your boss rewarded too. "It behooves you to figure out how to make your relationship work," Williams says. "If you give it your best effort to turn your boss into your ally, you will enjoy your relationship more."
3. Figure out your boss' work style.
"You can ask your boss some simple questions that will help you deliver the work they're looking for in the way they like to receive it," says Williams. Does your boss like details or big picture reports? Do they use extroverted thinking patterns and think out loud, or introverted thinkers who need time and introspection to arrive at a decision? Does your employer like to make a final decision and move on, or invite additional comments and feedback to make decisions by committee? "Knowing the answers to these questions can help you develop a road map that will guide your work interactions," Williams says.
4. Be direct and document outcomes.
As you are developing your relationship road map, be direct and ask the questions that will help you determine your best communication style. Williams says documenting your conversations will help you too. "This isn't a punitive kind of documentation, but rather helpful reminders. After you have a conversation with your boss or arrive at a decision, sending an email stating the decision or action steps from the conversation can help you both stay on track," she says. "It may also be helpful to have that record so you can look back at decisions that were made if any questions arise."
5. Remember your boss is human, too.
"As employees we want to have positive recognition for the work we do," Williams says. "Think about how your boss might need positive recognition or reinforcement and offer it. Everyone likes recognition for their work."
Chances are, you will work for a difficult boss at some point in your career. Making smart decisions about how you will communicate and develop a good working relationship with your boss will enhance your professional abilities and help you turn around a situation that might be causing you stress.
About Wake Forest University:
Wake Forest University combines the best traditions of a small liberal arts college with the resources of a large research university. Founded in 1834, the school is located in Winston-Salem, N.C. The University's graduate school of arts and sciences, divinity school, and nationally ranked schools of law, medicine and business enrich our intellectual environment. Learn more about Wake Forest University at www.wfu.edu.
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SOURCE Wake Forest University