How to Build a Strong Relationship With Your Boss

As your career mentor, I try to stay on top of what other people have to say about life and career success.  A while back, I read an interesting blog post by Maureen Henderson called “How To Be Taken Seriously At Work.”  Maureen presented some great career advice in that post.  Here is just one of the points she makes…

Realize that your boss is your job

Your job is not planning events, writing code or answering phones, it’s managing your relationship with the person you report to. It’s figuring out what makes him/her tick, how they like to work and what you can do to make his or her office life easier. You can be a top performer, but if you have a contentious relationship with your own personal higher-up, you’re not going to get the support and credit you need to succeed. Your work will not speak for itself. Your boss will speak for it and for you. It’s up to you to make sure what he/she says is flattering.

Maureen is right on here – especially when she says, “You work will not speak for itself.”  This is the first bit of career advice I give to my career mentor clients and in my career success talks.  I always say that the two biggest myths about life and career success are, “My work speaks for itself,” and “Good performance is enough to move ahead.”

While you need to be an outstanding performer, you need to do other things well if you want to create the life and career success you want and deserve.  Building strong mutually beneficial relationships with the important people in your life is an important key to success.  Your boss may be the most important person with whom you need to build a relationship.

I devote 20 tweets in my career mentor book, Success Tweets, to relationship building.  Here is some of the career advice on relationship building in Success Tweets and how you can use it to build and maintain a positive relationship with your boss…

Tweet 121 — Get genuinely interested in others.  Help bring out the best in everyone you know.  Get to know your boss, his or her strengths and weaknesses.  Help him or her capitalize on his or her strengths and minimize his or her weaknesses.  Do your best to make your boss look good.

Tweet 122 — Keep confidences and avoid gossip.  Don’t embarrass others by repeating what they share with you – even if it isn’t in confidence.  Most people get to know their boss pretty well, and become privy to information not everyone else has.  Treat anything your boss tells you – especially about his or her personal life – as confidential.

Tweet 123 — Use every interaction to build and strengthen relationships.  Make sure that every interaction you have with your boss is positive and strengthens your relationship with him or her.  I’m not suggesting you become a suck up.  I am suggesting that you do your best to maintain a cordial relationship and focus on helping your boss meet his or her goals and solve his or her work related  problems.

Tweet 124 — Everyone has something to offer.  Never dismiss anyone out of hand.  Sometimes bosses come up with some pretty off the wall ideas.  Pay attention when you encounter one.  Don’t dismiss your boss out of hand.  Listen to what he or she has to say.  Offer you’re opinions in a respectful manner.

Tweet 125 — Get to know yourself.  Use your self-knowledge to better understand others and build mutually beneficial relationships with them.  The more you understand yourself and what makes you tick, the more you will understand your boss and what makes him or her tick.  Adapt your style to your boss; don’t expect him or her to adapt his or her style to you.  You’ll be more influential with your boss this way.

Tweet 128 — When meeting someone new ask yourself,” What can I do to help this person?”  This works with your boss too.  Figure out how you can be most helpful to him or her – and then set about doing these helpful things.

Tweet 132 — Trust is the glue that holds relationships together.  The more you demonstrate trust in others the more they will trust you.  Show your boss that you trust him or her – in your words and in your actions.  He or she will notice and appreciate your trust.  More important, he or she will begin to trust you with important projects.

Tweet 133 — Resolve conflict positively.  Treat conflict as an opportunity to strengthen, not destroy, the relationships you’ve worked hard to build.  No matter how good you relationships with your boss, conflict is inevitable.  Use these moments to demonstrate your trust and good will.  Focus on finding a mutually agreeable resolution to your differences.

Tweet 138 — We all make mistakes.  Own up to yours.  You’ll become known as a straight shooter, honest with yourself and others.  When you make a mistake, admit it – right away – even if your boss is unlikely to find out about it.  Telling the truth is always a good career success move.

Tweet 139 — Deliver on what you say you’ll do.  If you can’t meet a commitment, let the other person know right away.  This may be the most important piece of career advice in this post.  Bosses hate to be surprised – especially in a negative way.  Tell your boss right away if you figure out you’ll be late on a project.  That will let him or her avoid being embarrassed when the project is late.

The career mentor point here is simple common sense.  Building a strong relationship with your boss is a solid career success move.  When you have a good relationships with your boss, he or she will sing your praises and help you get the attention and promotions you want and deserve.  Above, I’ve provided 10 ways to enhance your relationship with your boss.  They are based on the career advice in Success Tweets.  Read them over again and put them into practice so you can get on the road to the career success you deserve.

That’s my career advice on building a strong relationship with your boss.  What do you think?  Please take a minute to share your thoughts with us in a comment.  As always, thanks for reading my daily musings on life and career success.  I value you and I appreciate you.

Your career mentor,


PS: If you haven’t already done so, you can download free copies of my career mentor books, Success Tweets and Success Tweets Explained.  The first is a tweets book – all 141 pieces of advice are written tweet style.  The second is a whopping 390 + pages of career advice explaining each of the common sense tweets in Success Tweets in detail.  Go to to download your free copies.  You’ll also start receiving my daily life and career success quotes.


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