Your boss today should be someone that you are in touch with for the rest of your life. Sure, you will work for this person–probably for a short time, maybe a year or two–but you are building a relationship for the bigger picture.
You never know how this person will play a part in your life, who they will put you in front of, or the job opportunities they could lead you to. You want to have people in your life who can speak highly of you, talk about your professional capabilities, who can recommend you, and your boss can potentially be that person for the rest of your life.
I started an internship program at my company, Intern Queen Inc, in 2009. At this point, I’ve gone through several cycles of interns and I’m still in touch with a lot of them. I’m frequently responsible for evaluations, recommendations, writing letters, or making calls on their behalf. And you know what? I’m happy to do it. Here are some tips on handling your relationship with your boss:
1. THEY CHANGE OVER TIME.
Your relationship with your boss today isn’t necessarily going to be the relationship you have with your boss a few years from now. Don’t get too hung up on the current relationship. When you work for someone the relationship is always going to be intensified. Eventually, you will both move on and the relationship will develop accordingly. Do your best and don’t get too hung up on what the relationship will look like five years from now.
2. RECOGNIZE THAT YOUR RELATIONSHIP WITH EVERY BOSS WILL BE DIFFERENT.
Some will be great and others not-so-great–it’s typically a personality thing. Some bosses are going to notice some things about you and others will notice other things. Your personality might rub one boss the right way but another boss another way. Such is work life.
3. DON’T LET YOUR BOSS’S MOOD BUG YOU.
The best thing you can do is be consistent–personality wise and work wise. Some people are moody. You can’t change who someone is. Be aware of your boss’s mood and then go on with your day like normal. The best thing you can do for your boss’s mood is act as you normally do. Be the consistent force they can rely on. Don’t let your boss’s mood affect you. You have no idea what they are dealing with after hours.
4. DON’T WAIT FOR PRAISE.
Whenever people tell me they are waiting for praise, it feels immature to me. Why does someone need to tell you that you are doing a good job? Why can’t you be confident in the work you are putting out into the world? Some people get so caught up in waiting for praise that they get frustrated when the accolades don’t come around frequently. Be confident in your abilities. Your boss isn’t a mind reader and remember, you are expected to do a good job and to do your work–that’s part of the job description.
5. IF YOU’RE GOING TO TAKE OFF WORK …
Try to provide as much advance notice as possible when going out of town or taking days off. Let your boss plan for this as much as possible and of course, only take sick days when really needed. Successful executives need reliable consistent people who aren’t going to take advantage of their time.
6. GET TO KNOW YOUR BOSS’S COMMUNICATION STYLE.
One of our former ambassadors, Dalida, who now works at FindLaw.com (a Thomson Reuters company), says, “For me, one of the hardest parts of my first job was understanding everyone’s communication style. There are people who explain everything flat out and there are those who don’t explain anything. There are people who ask for something the day they want it and there are people who ask for things days in advance. It just takes some getting used to. It takes time to learn how everyone functions.” When you start a new job, ask your boss about their preferred communication methods and styles. When you have questions should those be handled over the phone, in person, via email, or by text?