When we think about a relationship between an employee and an employer, we often leave all the burden on the boss to make the connection and get to know his employees on a personal level. After all, it is his business, and he should do what he can to get to know the people working for him.
This is true, however, let’s look at things from the other perspective. How can a professional build a stronger relationship with his boss?
When you take your relationship with your boss into your own hands, and don’t wait for him to make the connection with you, you present a world of opportunities for yourself.
Your future of career advancement, promotions, and raises all lie in your ability to connect with your bosses and other influential decision makers. If you’re boss likes you, you will do very well and you’ll find opportunities are presented every other day. However, if your boss doesn’t particularly care for you, or he is indifferent to you, then your career growth opportunities will be severely limited and you will become highly dispensable.
According to the Harvard Business Review, “The number 1 criteria for career advancement and promotion for professionals is an ability to communicate effectively”
Here are 7 ways to connect with your boss on a personal level for professional success:
1. View him as a person and not just your boss
One of the worst things you can do when communicating with your boss is view him as some king who you cannot relate to. Your boss is a person just like you, and if you feel like he is well above you because of his career position, you must not show it in the way you talk to him.
Respect him as a person, but don’t talk to him like he is some sort of alien. That will only piss him off because no one likes it when someone looks at them with pure intimidation.
Do what you can to remind yourself he is a person with hopes, dreams, problems, and all the good stuff. Other than the fact that he has more professional power than you, he is just like you. Talk to him like he is just like. You do that by….
2. Try to find common ground
One thing that will be very important for you to do is connect with him on common ground. What I mean by that is finding areas of interest and passion that you both share and can talk about. If you both have a particular interest in musician, a sport, or movie genre, that’s a great place to start.
You can also look for common values. By utilizing some of the below techniques, you can find areas that you both value. These may include family life, education, or a belief in honesty.
3. Ask him about his family
One of the best ways to connect with someone on a personal level is to ask them all about their family. Ask them about their spouse children, siblings, and the whole shebang.
Try to learn about what their family beliefs are, and what their kids greatest accomplishments are. People cherish their children’s accomplishment because it’s a reflection of them. So encourage them to tell you about what their children are up to.
Get to know them on a level deeper than business jargon.
4. Ask him about his favorite hobbies
Another great way to bond with people is to ask them about their favoite hobbies. Ask about what he likes to do in his free time.
Does he like to golf? Watch football? Cook? Whatever it is, try to find something that you have a particular knowledge in and can hold a conversation about. People love to talk about their passion and hobbies.
5. Listen for his values & interests and build off that
LISTEN. LISTEN. LISTEN.
That’s the only way you’ll ever actually be able to connect with a person. The most important thing in communication is listening, and if you want to connect with your boss, you’ll have to really step up your game. Listen to the details of his life stories and pick up on what he values. Try to see if you can sense an interest in a particular activity that you also are interested in.Then bring it up and see if you can spark an interest.
Once you have a common interest or value, you can talk about that frequently and build the relationship based on that. And it will be a strong relationship because the strongest relationships are built off of common ground.
6. Ask about his personal goals
One thing that people often forget is that your boss has other goals than just running a profitable business. He cares about more than just increasing the bottom line by 1.4% this quarter.
Ask him what he is striving for in his personal life. Is he a fitness fanatic? Does he want to improve his golf game by 3 stokes this year? Does he desire to build a stronger bond with his children? Find out what he wants to accomplish in his personal life and encourage him to yack your ear off.
People love to be heard and love to feel important. So as long as you are showing a genuine interest in his personal life, he will love you.
7. Use the word “WHY” as often as possible
The word WHY is the ultimate word in communication. It is the the absolute easiest way to carry a conversation!
Think about it, WHY provokes a person to elaborate which keeps the conversation alive, and will often times lead to other topics of conversation. Not only that, but you asking WHY is going to show that you care and are genuinely interested in the other person.
You want take more time off this year. WHY?
You feel your not fully connected with your spouse. WHY?
Your not happy about the way you’ve been working out lately. WHY?
See where the question why takes you when connecting with your boss, or any other important person in your life.
Understand that listening is the most important part of communication.
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