11 Tips for a Better Relationship with Your Boss



Whether you want a happier work environment or lay the groundwork for a raise, promotion or transfer, you must create opportunities for success. That includes, of course, being on good terms with your boss and often your boss’s boss.

For a better relationship with your boss, take these 11 steps:

1. Regularly provide 10 percent added value. Once, when as an employee I wanted a better relationship with a boss, a beloved mentor gave me great advice.

“Do your job and then give another 10 percent without asking for extra pay in order to allow for having bad-hair days,” he said. “Work your 40 hours; then another four hours.”

Before I knew it, the situation improved and I was promoted to management. (This was a process that repeatedly worked to perfection for me at other companies and later as a consultant in serving clients, as well.)

men meeting2. Be a consistent, trusted performer. You’ll start getting noticed. The trick is to become the go-to person.

When something needs to be done, it’s a good sign when your boss turns to you first as a trusted employee.

If you’re really ambitious, see: How to Manage Your Boss for Better Performance – for Both You and Your Company.

3. Show interest privately and publicly. Ask questions about your role in the company, how you can be of better service and about the direction of the company. In a staff meetings, find good reasons to engage the boss.

If you’re in a gathering with your boss and other supervisors, stay briefly after the meeting. Look them in eyes. A good sign that you’re trusted — if you’re invited to remain with them as they debrief after the meeting.

4. Be early every day. Your boss will be annoyed if you continually arrive late, and don’t be surprised if the boss nitpicks about your work.

Instead, leave your home a half hour before you need to arrive on time. You’ll get some wiggle room for traffic and other unforeseen delays.

More importantly — you’ll arrived relaxed, have time to grab some coffee and will be able to review your to-do list. I guarantee you’ll enjoy your workday more.

5. Be a good listener. Be ready to listen when your boss approaches. Put your pen or paper down, turn away from your computer and face your boss.

This will work wonders if you’re seen as a good listener. It will also position you as a sounding board — a very desirable situation in which to be.

6. Avoid water-cooler gossip and be a supporter. It will help your cause if you’re seen as a compassionate person. Support your boss and coworkers whenever feasible.

7. Don’t surprise your boss. No one likes negative surprises, especially if the person feels taken for granted or caught off guard. Always give plenty of notice — the most possible. That goes for your work, personal time off and vacation plans.

8. Volunteer for projects. Be intuitive when things need to get done. Think like a boss and volunteer. If your boss has a deadline, offer to help. Even if it’s as simple of just copying some documents, offer to do it.

9. Look for problems to solve. Look beyond the length of your nose. Take the initiative. Bosses like employees who carry their own weight, can work independently and who can make their jobs easier.

If you spot a problem outside your realm of responsibilities, and you’re convinced you have the solution, go ahead and solve the problem. Tell your boss about it a week or two later.

A good boss will appreciate your initiative and your nonchalance about your service.

10. Be respectful of your manager’s time and energy. Be a good team member by staying out of your manager’s face. Know when to talk and take up your boss’s time.

11. Minimize office politics. If you’re a supporter of your coworkers, avoid gossip and stay low-key, you’ll minimize the likelihood of jealousy by your peers.

If tension does rear its ugly head from office politics, it’s OK. Keep focusing on the doing the right thing for the organization and you’ll be fine. For more insights, see 18 Tips for Productive Behavior to Win in Office Politics.

From the Coach’s Corner, more career tips:

3 Best Interview Strategies for a Promotion in Your Company — So your company has an opening that would mean a promotion for you. Great. But make sure you prepare properly to avoid disappointment. To get the job you must interview well.

13 Tips on Coping with Change at Work – Conquer Your Fears — In this economy, it seems normal to fear losing your job. Plus, budget cuts, hiring freezes, revised job descriptions and getting a new boss can all be unnerving.

Acting, Speaking Coach: How to Improve Communication with Others — Do you know when you marginalize others?   If you’re having communication problems with someone important in your career or life, chances are one or both of you will profit from tips in honest communication.

Dos and Don’ts: How to Advance Your Career via Your Boss’s Boss — You can improve your career prospects by maximizing your communications – with your boss’s boss.

Nervous About Your New Boss? Here’s How to Deal with It — Whether you just got a new job or whether your company just assigned a new boss for you, it might seem hard to deal with it. But deal with it you must. 

“Opportunities are usually disguised as hard work, so most people don’t recognize them.”

-Ann Landers


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Author Terry Corbell has written innumerable online business-enhancement articles, and is a business-performance consultant and profit professional. Click here to see his management services. For a complimentary chat about your business situation or to schedule him as a speaker, consultant or author, please contact Terry.




Tips for Dining Etiquette with Your Boss or Anchor Client



Whatever the important business occasion, it’s helpful to hold your meeting away from the tense hustle and bustle of a corporate setting. The right ambience for deal-making is often an opulent restaurant with sumptuous food. That’s been my preference.

It was a valuable tactic for me when I was a young salesperson working my way into management. Such an occasion helped to convince an executive to put me in charge of his radio operation.  

Superb meals have helped persuade major clients to spend more money with my firm. And during economic downturns, great meals have even helped me collect large receivables — convincing clients to pay my firm first – before paying other vendors.

Ironically, in this increasingly casual world, proper business-dining at a power lunch is often neglected.

Once, when my firm’s young salesperson, who was fresh out of college, wanted to land an airline as a client, he wanted to take the president to lunch.

My counsel to the employee: Find out the prospect’s favorite restaurant. Make an appointment for lunch. “Turn the restaurant into your country club. Go to the restaurant a few days before the event, tip the maitre d, and explain it’s for an important event. You want the best table to host one of the restaurant’s major patrons.”

The result? The executive was stunned by the 20-something’s performance, asking: “How did you do that? I’m impressed.”

The right ambience for deal-making is often an opulent restaurant with sumptuous food.

If you’re invited by your boss

It’s important to accept the invitation. If you’re nervous, remember it’s a golden opportunity for growth – to make a positive impression or to network with the team. You’ll be evaluated on your social skills.

Arrive at least five minutes early. Be a chameleon and be mindful of your boss’s taste. If the boss is a professionally groomed person, dress in a sophisticated manner. Don’t be too casual or too ostentatious.

Ordering the meal

Watch your boss to get a clue on what to order. Unless your host specifically suggests the most expensive item on the menu, choose a moderately priced meal – priced somewhere in the middle.

If you have dietary concerns, for example, an allergic reaction to shellfish or gluten, make sure you check with the restaurant in advance to discuss options.

Avoid messy food. You don’t want to been seen with spaghetti sauce on your clothes. The meal shouldn’t be a distraction from an important business discussion. And don’t order an alcohol libation unless, of course, your boss and colleagues do.

The discussion

Breaking bread with a boss or client is an opportune time to be more candid than normal. Use the occasion to get to know the people better. But be professional.

Be a good listener, don’t interrupt and ask open-ended questions to get more information. Introductory subjects before dining can range from travel to family. Avoid topics such as politics or religion. Be complimentary of the food and service.

… make sure you finish the discussion before leaving the table.

Table manners

Basic etiquette includes:

  • Make sure your cell phone is in silent mode, and don’t use it.
  • Put your napkin in your lap when seated.
  • Wait for your turn before ordering.
  • Don’t put your elbows on the table.
  • Before you eat, wait for everyone to be served.
  • Be mindful of the pace at which everyone is eating. Don’t rush it but don’t be slower than the rest.
  • Don’t talk with a mouthful.
  • Should you inadvertently spill your water or drink – stay poised, apologize just once, and excuse yourself if you need to clean up. Be the person to ask a server to help clean the table.
  • If you’re a male dining with women and the server thinks you’re finished first and asks to pick up your plate, don’t embarrass the other guests. Say something like: “No thank you. I’m still eating.”

If you’re making a sales presentation

Follow your instincts. Unless it’s a comprehensive discussion, the time to do it is as soon as every person is finished eating. There can be exceptions. Whatever you decide, make sure you finish the discussion before leaving the table.

Paying the tab

If you’re invited by the boss, as the senior person, the boss pays. If someone else makes the invitation, that’s who pays.

A well-written thank you note should be mailed the same day.

If you extend the invitation, you pay. Use a credit card. But if you want to pay with cash, make certain you carry at least twice the amount of money you anticipate needing. You don’t want to be embarrassed.

Leave a good tip. But don’t overdo it. Your boss or client won’t be impressed.

If you’re in a habit of dining with clients, make certain you pay for half the meals. It’s very rare, but some clients insist on picking up the tab every time. Don’t argue. It might turn out well for you. I had one client, the CEO of a financial institution, who insisted on paying.

After a few disagreements about paying the check, I stopped objecting. It turned out well. Each month, he paid my invoices within 10 minutes after I handed them to him, and he recommended me to his peers. He was a highly valued client for 15 years.

Oh yes, if you’re a guest, be sure to graciously thank the host. A well-written thank you note should be mailed the same day.

From the Coach’s Corner, more tips:

Public Speaking Tips – for Speeches in Accepting Awards, Honors — So you’re about to be honored for your pro bono work, volunteerism, or for creating a foundation to fund scholarships for education. But you get stage fright or don’t know how to most-effectively frame your acceptance speech? Join the crowd.

How to Obtain the Most Profit from Speaking Opportunities — It’s one thing to be invited to speak at your industry’s major event. But it’s another to create the right impression for your hosts, your audience and prospective customers or clients. There’s more to it than you might think.

6 Tips to Increase the Quality, Quantity of Your Client Referrals — As a professional, you can ease the pain and save time in making sales calls, if you’re a good steward of your already-existing circle of associates and clients – potential centers of influence.

Dos and Don’ts: How to Advance Your Career via Your Boss’s Boss — You can improve your career prospects by maximizing your communications – with your boss’s boss — if you respect the process. Not only will such opportunities optimize your prospects, they will give you a broader perspective about upper management’s concerns and insights.

8 Tips on How to Ask Your Boss for a Pay Raise — Your food, gas and other living costs have increased. But bosses give raises based on performance, so you need tips on how to ask your boss for a pay raise.

“Good manners: The noise you don’t make when you’re eating soup.”

-Bennett Cerf


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Author Terry Corbell has written innumerable online business-enhancement articles, and is a business-performance consultant and profit professional. Click here to see his management services. For a complimentary chat about your business situation or to schedule him as a speaker, consultant or author, please contact Terry.






Seattle business consultant Terry Corbell provides high-performance management services and strategies.