I believe there are no good or bad bosses. They are all just human beings with a job to get done through the people on their team, and often under great pressure. Some are reluctant managers, promoted from player to coach because there was no one else available. Some bosses are awesome and genuinely care about your success. And yes, some are power-hungry control freaks… but they still get business results.
Here’s the thing. No matter how your boss communicates with you, I believe it’s up to you whether it will be a healthy player/coach relationship or an adversarial one. Even a manager with questionable communication skills can be managed upward. And since that person dramatically influences your paycheck, it’s worth working at it, isn’t it?
Here are a few communication basics that will help your relationship:
- Ask “What do you need?” and then fulfill those needs on time and under budget
- Sort your boss’s emails to the top of the inbox and answer them first
- Volunteer for extra committees and task forces (also good personal networking)
- Don’t wait until you’re in trouble to ask for help, and thank them when they do help
- Allow them to take credit for your work (yes, this will pay back later)
Everyone has personal biases and business is never just business, but you don’t have to let it get in the way of work. If you are focused on serving your customers, you will usually have right on your side.
If your boss notices your results, you should get rewarded. If they choose not to, it may be time to take your talents to a boss who will. Before you jump ship, ask yourself “Which boss teaches you more, the easy one or the tough one?”