As the late and oft-married Mickey Rooney could have said, relationships are important. In the workplace setting, they can have a huge importance in fulfilling the mission.
Relationships work in many directions, including supervisors with those they supervise. They are so important that Steve Arnesen wrote about them in his book “What Your Boss Really Wants From You.” In there, he lists insights for improving the supervisor-supervised relationship. Those insights are:
- When and how is the boss most approachable? It seems like a simple question, but employees can get a great deal of insight from being able to answer this.
- What is the person’s preferred management style? How does the boss want to be engaged during the idea phase?
- What behavior does the boss reward? Learn and know the consequences for out-of-bounds behavior.
- What is the person trying to accomplish in the supervisor’s role? This includes philosophical views on function as well as views on the boss role’s mission.
- What is the person worried about? Recognize the boss’s current priority list.
- What is the person’s reputation in the organization? Recognize how this affects the department.
- Who does the boss respect? This shows what the person values in others.
- Where does the person have influence? Recognize what this means for others in the department.
- What is the leader’s relationship like with their boss? Study this relationship.
- What is the boss’s primary motivation? Figure this out, but validate it with a trusted peer.