Like all relationships over time, our relationships with bosses can grow stale, distant, or simply confusing. And many Americans believe it's a part of the reason their work doesn't feel fulfilling. A recent study reported by The Muse revealed that 60 percent of people say that they would be more productive at work if they had a better relationship with their boss. What's more, is that 70 percent of respondents said that they'd be happier, too. So how do we make that happen?
The bad news is that it's not something that can happen overnight. But the good news is that this is a long-term investment. You're not simply carrying out a one-time action that hopefully your boss likes. Instead, we're providing you with five simple habits that experts and bosses themselves seem to think are the key to winning over your manager. Start applying these to your own work and see how it begins to transform your relationships in the office.
Update Your Style
Roberta Matuson, author and founder of Matuson Consulting, suggests that mimicking your boss's work style is a smart way to start winning her over. While it can be tempting to think that your work style is superior, that's probably going to produce more clashing than it is a change in other people's behavior.
Matuson says it like this: "Get to know your boss's management style and adjust your style so you are both aligned." If that means opting for a different mode of primary communication, so be it.
Don't Lay Blame
It's easy to play the blame game. In fact, it's so easy, a study reported byFast Company found that about 50 percent of workers blame their co-workers for their own lack of productivity. What's more, that same report highlighted a study that managers spend almost a quarter of their days simply managing conflict.
The answer is simple: stop blaming your co-workers, rightly or wrongly, for problems around the office. Rather than trying to leverage an opportunity to look better than someone, buckle down and find the solutions your boss is craving from you as members of her team.
Your manager is aware that some of the menial tasks in your day are below your pay grade. "In fact, that's probably why she hired you," says Diane Gottsman, etiquette expert. But just because your potential exceeds making copies, that doesn't give you an excuse to refuse or get upset at small tasks. Your boss is more than likely aware of your skill set, so do your best to show that your willing to do any job she asks. In the long run, it proves both loyalty and humility.
We've all seen the t-shirts, posters, and coffee cups emblazoned with the immortal phrase, "Keep Calm and Carry On." But it's no joke. You may find that most people in this world aren't so great at keeping said calm. Lolly Daskal, president and CEO of Lead From Within, recommends this strategy: "When everybody else is losing their temper or showing their irritation, the smartest thing to do is to keep your reaction level-headed and reasonable."
This may surprise you, but according to workplace communications consultant Diane Amundson, good bosses are appreciative of an employee who can say no. Ultimately, if you're on the same page with your boss, and you're not simply using "no" as an opportunity to leverage power, the art of the "no," is one that can be extremely beneficial for your team. Don't doubt your instincts.
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Since most of us have access to the internet at work, it's easy to get sidetracked looking up the answer to a random question that just popped into your head.
That's why Quora user Suresh Rathinam recommends writing down these thoughts or questions on a notepad. This way, you can look up the information you want later, when you're not trying to get work done.
While many people believe they're great at doing two things at once, scientific research has found that just 2% of the population is capable of effectively multitasking.
Constant internet access can also lead people to check email throughout the day. Sadly, each time you do this, you lose up to 25 minutes of work time. What's more, the constant checking of email makes you dumber.
Instead, strategy consultant Ron Friedman suggests quitting Outlook, closing email tabs, and turning off your phone for 30-minute chunks of deep-diving work.
Whether it's a new diet, workout routine, or work schedule, one of the most difficult things about forming a new habit is the urge to cheat as a reward for sticking to a routine for a while.
This idea that we "deserve" to splurge on fancy meal after being thrifty for a week is called "moral licensing," and it undermines a lot of people's plans for self-improvement.
Instead, try making your goal part of your identity, such that you think of yourself as the kind of person who saves money or works out regularly, rather than as someone who is working against their own will to do something new.
People often start off their day by completing easy tasks to get themselves rolling and leave their more difficult work for later. This is a bad idea, and one that frequently leads to the important work not getting done at all.
As researchers have found, people have a limited amount of willpower that decreases throughout the day. That being the case, it's best to get your hardest, most important tasks done at the beginning of the day.
Nothing disrupts the flow of productivity like an unnecessary meeting. And with tools like email, instant messenger, and video chat at your fingertips, it's best to use meetings for introductions and serious discussions that should only be held in person.
BlueGrace Logistics founder Bobby Harris recommends that people don't accept a meeting unless the person who requested it has put forth a clear agenda and stated exactly how much time they will need. And even then, Harris recommends giving the person half of the time they initially requested.
She recommends forgoing coffee or fluorescent-lighted conference-room meetings in favor of walking and talking 20 to 30 miles a week.
"You'll be surprised at how fresh air drives fresh thinking, and in the way that you do, you'll bring into your life an entirely new set of ideas," she says.
It might feel like pressing the snooze button in the morning gives you a little bit of extra rest to start your day, but the truth is that it does more harm than good.
That's because when you first wake up, your endocrine system begins to release alertness hormones to get you ready for the day. By going back to sleep, you're slowing down this process. Plus, nine minutes doesn't give your body time to get the restorative, deep sleep it needs.
This isn't to say you should cut back on sleep. As Arianna Huffington discusses in her TED talk, a good night's sleep has the power to increase productivity, happiness, smarter decision-making, and unlock bigger ideas. The trick for getting enough sleep is planning ahead and powering down at a reasonable time.
Some people think having lots of goals is the best way to ensure success — if one idea fails, at least there are plenty more in reserve to turn to. Unfortunately, this sort of wavering can be extremely unproductive.
Warren Buffett has the perfect antidote. Seeing that his personal pilot was not accomplishing his life goals, Buffett asked him to make a list of 25 things he wanted to get done before he died. But rather than taking little steps toward completing every one of them, Buffett advised the pilot to pick five things he thought were most important and ignore the rest.
Many ambitious and organized people try to maximize their productivity by meticulously planning out every hour of their day. Unfortunately, things don't always go as planned, and a sick child or unexpected assignment can throw a wrench into their entire day.
With that being said, you should take time to strategize before attempting to achieve any long-term goals. Trying to come up with the endgame of a project you're doing midway through the process can be extremely frustrating and waste a huge amount of time.
More often than laziness the root of procrastination is the fear of noting doing a good job, says British philosopher and author Alain de Botton on his website, The Book of Life.
"We begin to work only when the fear of doing nothing at all exceeds the fear of not doing it very well … And that can take time," he writes.
The only way to overcome procrastination is to abandon perfectionism and not fuss over details as you move forward. Pretending the task doesn't matter and that it's OK to mess up could help you get started faster.
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What's your secret to a healthy relationship with your boss? Do you think it's immoral to pander to try and win over your boss? Should we all just be grateful we have bosses in the first place? Share your strong opinions in the comments below, or join the conversation on Twitter!