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To Build Rapport with Your Manager, Use These 4 Strategies

Change is inevitable. Whether it’s a new city, new job, new role or a new boss, your ability to adapt to your reality will indefinitely impact your success long term. For many, their career plays a big role in their lives. You spend over 40 hours a week at work and arguably a few more on top of that thinking about it.

When you start a new job, the learning curve is steep as you learn how the company functions and ramp up on your responsibilities. But, you could argue that beyond your new role and responsibilities, your manager is truly what will impact your job satisfaction long term. When 2,500+ working adults were asked whether they would take a pay cut to be happy at work, 66% said yes. Job happiness factors in the relationship you establish with your manager, opportunities for growth, and meaningful work. To build rapport with your manager, leverage the following 4 strategies.

Take the initiative – don’t wait for them to ask

The value of a manager isn’t just to give you work and evaluate it. On the contrary, great managers focus on eliminating roadblocks and empower you to do your best work. Your responsibility is to take the initiative. Be intentional with the time allocated by your 1:1 weekly meetings with your manager. Start by creating an agenda with three core sections: project updates, challenges you’re encountering  (roadblocks) and ideas you may have that contribute to your team’s success. This gives you a starting point to think through each of the buckets as you plan for your weekly meeting. Great companies focus on building teams with owners. They look for owners who stay accountable to their work and feel proud of their output. Although there may be a hierarchy, at the end of the day you and your manager are partners aiming for success.

Don’t shy away from sharing your ideas

There is no such thing as a bad idea and part of being an owner is giving yourself a seat at the table regardless of your level. Whether this is your first job in tech or you have a few years under your belt, everyone has something to offer. If you have an idea, don’t hesitate to share it with your manager. As a more experienced colleague, your manager can advise and help you reach your potential but it’ll be difficult for them to help you if you shy away from sharing your ideas. It’s also an impactful way to contribute in your role by positioning yourself as a thought partner. Your idea may not be the golden answer but it will help you practice talking through different angles to decide the best approach for a project. In some cases being able to identify the wrong answer, can lead you to the right one.

Effective communication doesn’t go unnoticed

Soft skills have recently garnered their own spotlight due to its growing importance and contribution to an individual’s career growth. At the top of that list is communication. Having the keen ability to communicate simply and effectively with not only your manager and colleagues at work is vital. In an interview with Fast Company, Jodi Chavez, President of the staffing firm Randstad Professionals noted “poor communication can lead to misunderstandings and even slow down the workflow, preventing a company from moving forward.” A part of building rapport with your manager and being able to excel in your role is effectively executing on your responsibilities. A few tips for those looking to be more effective in their communication:

  1. Think about the best form of communication; should this message be via Slack, email or best during an in person meeting
  2. Be concise and direct. Less is more if you are able to simply communicate your message. Be sure you understand what you are trying to get across and if needed, get confirmation
  3. Know what you want out of the conversation

Of course, deliver value

It’s an inevitable reality that in your role you will be evaluated based on reaching your goals for the quarter (or getting very close to it) as you continue evolving your contributions. If you are effectively utilizing your weekly 1:1 with your manager, communicating frequently and effectively around your progress and executing — your results after 12 weeks shouldn’t be a shock for either of you. Where many people fall short is addressing problems with their manager at its first sight. As a habit, it’s valuable to be proactive as a default. A key element to building rapport with your manager is communicating progress whether positive or negative. It allows them to know you are staying on top of things and allowing them to help you relieve the roadblock. Things happen, and priorities can change in a startup or high growth environment. Make it a priority to not shy away from bringing up ‘problems’ to your manager. A great manager will share the investment towards your success.