This column was originally published on Entrepreneur.com on November 12, 2015: http://www.entrepreneur.com/article/252249
If you've ever had a job, you've probably felt that your boss is a jerk. They want too much, they set unreasonable tasks and they just don't get you. Yet, a key element of a harmonic work environment and stress-free life is a good relationship with your boss or a manager.
If you're a manager yourself, then you should know: 50 percent of employees have quit their job because of their supervisor.
Why should you bother?
If you have a really terrible boss (the meme material), you may ask why should you even try to make that relationship work. In short, humans are happier when there's less conflict in our lives. According to Towers Watson, of 75 possible drivers of engagement the one that is rated as the most important is the extent to which employees believe their senior management have a sincere interest in their well-being.
Also, there may come a time you need a letter of recommendation. If your boss seems bad, there are a lot of ways to make your work-life less stressful and more peaceful. Even if they sometimes are too demanding and act unfairly, establishing trust and partnership is a job for two people.
Your boss is human.
Relationships are based on trust, so it is demoralizing to learn your superiors don't trust you. If that's the case, you can go on thinking "this job sucks," or you can do everything in your power to make your employer understand that you are doing impactful and meaningful work. Remember:
- Your manager can't read your mind.
- Your manager only knows what you're doing, if you let him know.
- Your manager is human.
You can try understanding what your manager goes through. Leaders are often under a lot of stress. According to a study from Norway, one of the main reasons for that is bad relationships with their employees.
If possible, know leadership's schedules and understand what they worry about. Be ready to offer your support. If you know there are problems, show some initiative and fix them. It's not sucking up if it helps the entire team.
It all comes down to talking like reasonable adults. In Weekdone, I have established a system where I call my boss to lunch at least once a month. We go out, have a good time, get to know each other better (no talk of work there!).
If you're in a bigger company or corporation, this may not suit you. If a manager has 100 people working for them, one-one-on-one lunches with each employee is not an option (unless everyone in a management position is willing to risk a severe case of obesity).
In here it boils down to water-cooler talk and office communications.
Stay professional. All this trust and empathy doesn't need to lead up to barbecue nights or parties. You and your boss still have a working relationship to respect.
Don't send a friend request on Facebook or call them to the movies. Stay professional and build respect. This is the most foolproof way to build a relationship that pays off in the long run. Or as Andy Teach, the author of From Graduation to Corporation, has said:
"You don't have to love your boss but you need to be able to work well with them. One of the main reasons employees leave their job is because of their boss. A troubled relationship with your boss can negatively affect your morale, your productivity, your happiness, and of course, your career. A positive relationship can improve your morale, productivity and happiness which could lead to more career success in the form of promotions, raises and higher self-esteem."
Everyone can contribute to the workplace happiness, which means that much too often, no-one does.
I say, you should "Be the change you want to see in the world." Make your boss happy. See your work-relationship turn from something monstrous to a supporting partnership that pushes you forward