Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Build a Better Relationships With Your Boss - Part Five

And watch your stock in the company rise as well.

Alright Flintstone if you are to make your relationship with Mr. Slate work then it's time to start the heavy lifting.  Finding common ground, connection points (search my BLOG for more ideas on connection points) and getting him (or her) engaged in conversation is a good start but it's only half the battle.  The real heavy lifting comes in keeping the conversation going.

Let's be clear that what I am about to tell you is not sucking up.  Others may disagree and even make fun of you --- especially your co-workers.  Let 'em. You see the entire point of this exercise is to make you known to your boss. To let her get to see you beyond title, department or employee number.  In the end your efforts, if done right, will humanize the process of connecting between you and your boss.  True this is something he or she really should have done when you got hired, especially if they really wanted the best from you, but alas most bosses don't know how or necessarily why connecting with you is important.  That's why you've got to take the brontosaurus (was Dino a bronotsaurus?) by the horns and regardless of what others might say, ignore them and start building a relationship with the old boss.

After all when the proverbial layoff axe comes down, it's the people your boss knows, likes and trusts that are far less likely to have their head on chopping block.  You get me?

Moving on.

So you've got your boss' attention.  You've found something you can identify with that now you've made it known you share at least a passing interest in as well.  Maybe it's a sports team, hobby or thirst for art or music, whatever, so now what?

Glad you asked.

Your "connection point" whatever that is is your dialogue jumping off point. It is your free pass to ask deeper more meaningful questions and find other ways to strengthen your knowledge of and connection with this person.  So how exactly do you do that?  There are several ways:

Separate the boss from the herd.  Get your boss outside the office away from the day to day hubbub(and prying eyes of the other employees) by asking them to lunch, out for a beer after work or....and this is a biggie...over to your house for dinner to meet the family.  Dinner used to be the #1 way an employee and a boss bonded outside the corporate walls and somewhere in the past two decades this symbolic rite of tradition disappeared.  Well Flintstone if Justin Timberlake can bring sexy back then you can most certainly bring the boss dinner back.

You've got to find avenues to build relational and emotional bonds with your boss.  Other ways you can do this:

Invite your boss...
To go out to bowling with your pals
Join you for cocktails with some old college friends
Come with you to a book club or networking or social event
To go biking or running with you on a Saturday
To check out the new summer blockbuster premier (with tickets you just happened to score!)

There are literally tons of things you find to invite your boss "out" to if you really think about it.  And it's this time where it's just you and her that conversations happen and the seeds of a relationship start to sprout.  I know it seems impossible but trust me on this...it happens.

Does it feel uncomfortable at first?  Yes.  Does it feel strange to be pursuing something with your boss that doesn't involve TPS reports?  Absolutely.  But think about this, when Bedrock Slate Rock & Gravel Company4 closes for the evening your boss doesn't not  put himself in a closet until 8AM tomorrow morning.  They have a life.  They have interests.  They enjoy spending time "doing things."  Your persistence and friendly invitations help give them something to do.

Whether you make elaborate efforts or simply ask you boss out for coffee every once in a while to idea share about the book you are both reading or to "ask their advice" on something you are making strides.  Your efforts will be seen, heard and most importantly felt by your boss.  And that's the point!

We want your boss to see you as you.  We want that bond to be created.  You may just find that in the end your boss, Mr. Slate, is one hell of a guy.  You might just learn more from him than you ever thought possible and in the end walk away with a relationship that pays far more dividends than keeping your job.  It may just become, dare I say it, a friendship you come to cherish.

I realize all of what I've covered in this series may have it's doubters - you may be one of them.  You might think your boss is all business.  You might let fictional boundaries prevent you from creating a relationship of any kind with your boss.  You may even think that trying to become friends with your boss makes you brown-noser amongst your peers.

I can't tell you whether you are right or wrong but I can tell you this, I was a better person and learned far more than most of my co-workers because of the relationships I created with my bosses over the years.  I am quite convinced that knowledge, experience and resource sharing that I've been fortunate to experience wouldn't have happened had I not tried to set myself from the rest of the minions.

Sure some became friends.  Some became trusted colleagues.  Some in fact helped propel me into being an entrepreneur.  And YES I am thankful for them all.

Would any of that happened had I not made the effort?

Absolutely not!  It would have been all TPS reports, job description and employee number. And if you ask me that sucks!

So you tell me.  Do you want to build a better relationship with your boss or not?

Well you better hurry Mr. Slate is headed to his foot powered car as we speak.  Give it a shot.  You have absolutely nothing to lose Flintstone!

Ripple On!!!


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