I have worked for several bosses. Some of them gave me great goals to shoot for as a leader myself. A couple were bosses I would never want to be. Now I’m on the other end of it. Since I have now experienced both sides of it, being “the Boss” and being the “Bossee,” I think I have some perspectives I can share.The ideal boss is kind of like a unicorn—beautiful, but mythical. They just can’t be found. Getting along with your boss is probably going to have a lot more to do with your perspective, your ability and willingness for give and take, and your capacity for grace than it does with the boss himself/herself.I have noticed that we tend to want what we don’t have. For example, when an employee has a highly structured and very detailed boss, they seem to desire more freedom, autonomy, and empowerment. Give the same employee a highly fluid and creative ideas boss, one who just throws it out there and has confidence it will get done, they often want more structure and clarity. It’s human nature. We seem to want more and fixate on what we don’t have.Now, for sure, some bosses are jerks. Maybe you are in an impossible situation, and the only thing to do is leave. But that’s more the exception than the rule. Generally boss-employee relationship can improve with just a few adjustments.Start with adjusting your thoughts in this way:Expecting a boss to be flawless is a waste of time and energy.Whether it’s marriage or work, no one is perfect. When you only settle for perfection, you will always be disappointed, and you will lose the good stuff that is available in your current relationship. My job is to work on me, not fix my boss.An effective satisfied employee is one who desires to serve his/her boss over his/her own desires. If the boss desires to serve the employee over his/her own desires, that will be a near perfect relationship. When you add trust, honesty, commitment to proactive communication, the boss-employee relationship will thrive.So, don’t be afraid to have the difficult conversations.Of course, if all you are ever doing is having difficult conversations, the relationship itself will be very difficult, and you will be an unwelcome presence. But it is vital to have honest conversations --not every week, usually not even every month, but have them.If you are afraid to ask a tough question or confront an issue, or if you feel it is futile—nothing will happen anyway, perhaps you are not in a situation that is healthy for you, and you should change.Always show respect and gratitude.Ask questions, don’t make accusations, and make sure you genuinely want what’s best for your boss just as much as you want what’s best for you. Respect and gratitude go a long way in making any relationship work. The lack of them can destroy any relationship.Respectfully get clarity or your roles and responsibilities.Ask for specifics, and in writing. When you don’t know what is expected from you, and the boss doesn’t really know what you’re supposed to do, both of you will likely always be dissatisfied.Treat gossip like toxins.Talking about your boss to others will never help you. Talking about others to your boss will lower the boss’s respect for you. Just say no. You do need a place to get wise counsel, perspective, and practical advice. That should be limited to one or two people who are not your “buddies.” You need someone who will not immediately defend your perspective. Make sure they are wise and strong enough to tell you the truth.Try to keep growing up.Maturity always makes the relationship better. I know that the relationship goes both ways—but we’re talking now about what YOU can do. If you grow and mature, perhaps you will impact your boss. One thing is for sure, you will handle stress and frustration better, and will be well-prepared for the opportunities in your future.Try it—I bet better days are ahead.
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