Establishing a Strong Work Relationship With Your Boss
As a professional healthcare worker, as with most careers, much of your success is dependent on building and maintaining relationships. Each and every workday is comprised of interactions with other people, from your patients and their loved ones to your co-workers, and to your supervisor or manager. In your career, all of these relationships are important, but for the purposes of this article, let’s focus on interactions with your boss. Here are five ways you can benefit your career by developing a great working relationship with your manager.
- Prove your value. One of the most important ways you can stay on strong footing with your boss is by demonstrating your value as a nurse. Notice the point was made about demonstrating your value, not talking about it. In the workplace, your boss doesn’t need to hear you talk about all of the wonderful things you are doing, they will notice it on their own. There is a time and place to “toot your own horn,” and choosing that time wisely will allow you to lead by example without irritating your co-workers.
- Set up regular one on one time. Many managers will schedule regular one-on-one meetings with their staff. Depending on the number of direct reports, that may not always be the case. One way you can ensure that you have face-time with your manager is to take the initiative to schedule periodic meetings. Whether it is monthly or quarterly, or whatever interval works for your situation, regular meetings allow you to maintain an open dialogue and discuss your accomplishments and also expectations that are or aren’t being met.
- Walk a mile. We have all been in situations where we question decisions or actions taken by our boss. After all, we are the nurses on the front line, and we know how things should be done. Before taking that leap after every decision is made, put yourself in your manager’s shoes. You both have very different job descriptions, and their actions may be based on information you aren’t privy to or some other organizational directive. Instead of sniping or sharing your displeasure around the nurse’s station, give your boss the benefit of the doubt. Then, when the opportunity arises, communicate with them about the decision, and you may learn there is more to it than you thought. Open communication goes a long way toward building trust.
- Make your manager look good. Okay, this is not an invitation to go out of your way to earn “brownie” points. There are ways you can make your manager look good just by being a professional and doing your job to the best of your abilities. One way to make your boss look good is to disagree with them in private. Never embarrass your manager by correcting them in front of the team. If you are actively maintaining a good relationship with your boss, then they will respect the fact that you challenging something they have said or done, as long as it is done in the right manner. Your initiative and professionalism will be one of the ways that you are making them look good because your actions are a direct reflection of their leadership
- Ask for feedback. One of the easiest ways to build trust and communication with your manager is to ask for their feedback. This isn’t to say that you ask for their advice about everything that happens throughout the day, but it is important to demonstrate that you respect their feedback on matters that count. Maybe you ask them about acquiring a new skill or what you need to improve upon to take on more responsibility. They were promoted for a reason, and by showing them that you value their opinion, you are in turn earning their respect.
There are many other ways you can establish good work relationships with your manager and colleagues. Communication and professionalism are the keys to any workplace relationship, and when you actively work on those traits, you will be contributing to a better workplace and a setting yourself up for a successful career.
What ways do you maintain a good working relationship with your manager or supervisor? How is your current relationship with your boss? If it is less than ideal, what ways can you contribute to making it better? Share your thoughts with us in the comment section below or join the discussion on our Facebook page.