By Ryan Velez
Connecting to your co-workers is something you should get in the habit of. There are the practical reasons, like being able to expand your network and have some people you can reach out to with a potential workplace issue, and the personal, like having someone at your side to keep you sane when work pressures get crazy. While it can be easy to approach someone you are on equal ground with position wise, connecting with your boss is a bit harder. The Network Journal has compiled some experts to share their advice on how to navigate this issue.
Career counselor April Klimkiewicz, owner of Bliss Evolution, notes that at the end of the day, a boss is a person like everyone else in your workplace, and getting along with them is important. “Connecting with your boss can make for a more comfortable work environment where you feel valued for the work you contribute and enjoy time at work,” she says. And of course, there is the added benefit of having a clear pipeline for job responsibilities and future opportunities.
However, she adds that brown-nosing is not going to help you, but may hurt your chances of making that connection. Truly connecting with your supervisor is one thing, and complimenting your boss just to get in his or her good graces is something else. It’s usually easy to tell these two things apart. People look down on brown-nosing because they can tell that the compliments are not coming from a place of genuine regard,” she says.
One of the best things you can do to try and get in good graces with your boss is to customize your communication style to a way they prefer. Some bosses may prefer early meetings over coffee rather than randomly popping in with questions. In addition, some may prefer that you send them an email that outlines your updates and questions for them versus a phone chat. By choosing the communication style your boss prefers, not only are you seen as someone who makes things easy for them, but who understands them.
Another important thing you want to know when it comes to your boss is how they feel when it comes to talking about their personal lives. Some prefer to keep things all business, but if your boss likes to share about their personal lives, asking about their child’s birthday or how they spent their weekend can do a lot to forge a connection.
Some bosses like to have an open-door policy, and if that is the case, make sure to use it. “Your boss is telling you that they are happy to be a sounding board for you and ensure you have all the information you need to get your job done. If your boss wants to set up a standing meeting or will allow you to just drop by, do it,” advises Klimkiewicz.