How to Build a Better Relationship with your Boss

A bad relationship with your boss doesn’t need to stay that way (and a mediocre relationship can be made better!).

It’s basically every procurement professional’s worst nightmare: you don’t get along with your boss. Perhaps you’re just different, or perhaps something has happened and you’ve lost their trust.

Whatever the cause, not getting along with your boss can make your days hellish and even worse, could railroad your career. But what should you do if you find yourself in this situation? 

Here are five ways you can improve your relationship with your boss: 

1. Create a connection

In the workplace, people come in all shapes and sizes. It’s very possible that what you perceive as your boss not liking you may simply be that your boss wants to keep their distance, or alternatively, something else may be going on in their lives.

To diagnose if you’re really the problem and create a connection, try talking to your boss about something other than work

You can do this in many ways – perhaps you invite your boss for an informal coffee and discuss family or other interests, or chat to your boss prior to meetings or when you see them around the office.

Creating a personal connection can help break down barriers and help you feel like you have a better relationship with your boss, even if they maintain their professional distance. 

2. Be the bigger person 

If your relationship with your boss was previously better but has taken a turn for the worse, it’s likely something has happened.

While you may not be at fault (or may not even know what the issue is), try to talk to your boss about it. 

It’s rare that there will be implications for you being honest – find a private place and appropriate time, and ask your boss what went wrong (or alternatively, apologise for the incident at hand).

Whether or not you believe you feel like you need to, apologising can be the first step to a better relationship, which can benefit you in a myriad of ways. 

3. Stay positive

If you feel as if your boss doesn’t like you, chances are that they think you don’t like them either.

There’s a high chance that despite your best efforts at professionalism, you might be doing things that subtly undermine or criticise your boss, and this can make the relationship more fraught. 

In order to wipe the slate clean, you may need to adjust your attitude and do everything you can to stay (and be) positive around your boss.

This may include not only acting more positive about your job and situation, but also doing your best to see things from their perspective. 

4. Put effort into the relationship

Being the bigger person in a relationship can often mean that you need to do things that make you a little uncomfortable. But in order to improve your relationship with your boss, this might be necessary. 

As frustrating as it might feel, one thing you can do to improve your relationship with your boss is to ask for their advice. Asking for your boss’s advice shows that you respect their judgement and opinion.

When you do ask for advice, though, make sure you don’t frame it in a way that will make it look like you’re putting a problem back onto them. 

Another great way to improve your relationship is to make your boss look good in a genuine way that doesn’t seem as if you’re sucking up. For example, pitch solutions to their problems or work to anticipate what will make life easier for them. 

5. Align on goals

Like any relationship, your relationship with your boss may have soured because you simply don’t have the same goals at work (or at least, you don’t think you do).

It may seem as if your boss is so busy with management above them that they don’t have time for you and your work, or alternatively, that you can never do the right thing. If this is the case, you need to align your goals. 

Sit down with your boss and make the time to understand what they want and need from you. It’s also appropriate to let your boss know what you feel you need from them, as productive two-way communication can be the best foundation for a great relationship.

Remember, your boss is fundamental to your happiness and success at work. Ensure that you invest in your relationship with them and equally, that you get to know them before accepting your next role.