Why Bonding With Your Boss Is The Best Career Move You Can Make

Why Bonding With Your Boss Is The Best Career Move You Can Make

This story is part of our monthlong “Work Well” initiative, which focuses on thriving in the workplace. You can find more stories from this project here.

Say what you want about brown-nosers, but people who invest in a healthy relationship with their boss have a better chance at finding career success.

This is according to Vicki Salemi, a career expert for Monster.com.

“It’s always an excellent idea to bond with your boss,” she told The Huffington Post. “The relationship with your boss is one of the most important ones you’ll have at your current job. It’ll only benefit you.”

Here’s why:

You’ll Have A Friend In A High Place

Besides having another friend at the workplace, you’ll have a significantly powerful ally, somebody who will (or should) go to bat for you in sticky situations.

It will also come in handy in the future, when you find yourself looking for a promotion or another job elsewhere.

Think about your job down the road, Salemi said. “[Your boss] can be a referral, a great networking option or help find an internal opportunity. They can be someone who can advocate for you the most. How can they do that if they don’t really get to know you?”

To that end, once you become a boss yourself, “you can learn from this dynamic and relationship to be a better manager [when that time comes].”

They’ll Know Your Work Ethic

Bosses are busy. Chances are you’re not their only employee.

“You may not see it regularly, but if you don’t continually check in with them, they may not know what you’re doing behind the scenes,” Salemi said. “You need to be proactive and make it a priority to connect with them.”

Check in with them. “Bosses should appreciate that,” Salemi said. Rather than waiting around for that annual review, ask to meet weekly or monthly. Tell them what you’re working on, what you’ve accomplished, and find out what they’d like from you.

It’ll Make “That Talk” More Comfortable

You’ll be better positioned to ask for a raise, so think of it as professional development. “If you have that open dialogue with your boss and you feel free and welcome and invited to speak with them on a regular basis, then it shouldn’t feel uncomfortable for you to ask for a raise or for more training, because you’ve built that relationship,” Salemi said.

How do you pull this off?

Keep It Real

While this is a purposeful move on your part, it’s still a relationship, so make sure you keep it genuine (co-workers can smell a sycophant from a mile away).

There are ways to bond with your supervisor without looking like a kiss-ass, as long as you genuinely want to establish a relationship with them.

Invite Them To Something Casual

“I don’t want to say be slick, but there’s a certain way to go about it,” Salemi said. This may not work for every type of office (or every boss), but if it feels right for you, ask them out to coffee, saying Starbucks is your favorite, or suggest a quick walk. “It doesn’t have to be about business,” Salemi added, so stick to lightly personal topics (without getting too personal). Ask them about their lives and open up yourself: How was your weekend? What’s your New Year’s Resolution? And offer yours.

“Just like the coworkers you enjoy hanging out with, you’re spending time with your boss because you enjoy their camaraderie,” Salemi said.

Don’t Neglect Your Coworkers

Think of your friends as a garden, and water them all regularly. “You need to manage all of your relationships at work, and that includes your coworkers, too,” Salemi said. “If you’re getting the stink eye, continue do to what you’re doing and, as long as it’s authentic and organic, know you’re not doing anything wrong. You’re building a relationship with your boss.”

Judgement might come out as jealousy, so remain a team player, especially in departmental meetings, where you should “maybe play it down, so that you don’t seem so chummy or buddy-buddy. In a group dynamic, it’s important that your’e a part of the team.”

And Don’t Forget The Ultimate Rule

It’s OK to toot your own horn, Salemi emphasized. “No one’s your best advocate more than you, [so] build that relationship. It will only further your career.”

The Huffington Post’s “Work Well” series is also part of our “What’s Working” solutions-oriented journalism initiative.

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