I’ve never specifically written about today’s topic and I’m excited to share some of the key strategies I teach my 1 : 1 clients around this.
Having a great relationship with one’s manager is a key skill any ambitious professional needs to possess.
My views on this are highly influenced by my mentor Brooke Castillo of The Life Coach School as well as my decades long experience in senior corporate leadership roles.
I’ll start with something a bit provocative that you won’t hear mentioned in most career related advice:
YOUR RELATIONSHIP WITH YOUR BOSS (OR ANYONE ELSE) IS SOLELY DEPENDENT ON THE THOUGHTS YOU HAVE ABOUT HIM OR HER.
Told you this would be different!
Our relationship with anyone is basically built on the thoughts we have about them, about what they do or don’t do, what they say or don’t say, and who we think they are.
We can observe what they do, what they say but how we think about what they say and do is what creates the relationship.
Let me give you an example.
Your boss rushes into your office while you’re in the middle of responding to an important customer request.
Your boss tells you that you need to drop everything right this second and produce an in-depth analytical report by the end of the day.
It’s now 3 pm.
You’re a planner and you had mapped out your entire day. In fact, you had a very specific plan for the week of what needed to be done by when and had a calendar set up to help you make it all happen.
And, you have plans for the evening with your family. You’re taking your daughter out for dinner to celebrate an amazing accomplishment she just had at school.
This so called work “emergency” is making you angry at your boss.
If she’d planned better, we would have been ahead of the curve on this report and it would have already been part of the work to be done for the week.
How does she think I can have this done in such a short period, by working all night?
The more you think about it, the angrier and more agitated you become.
You start thinking about all of the ways she’s not a great boss. She should have seen this coming and planned for it.
Someone else should be doing that report. Yeah, she should be running that report herself.
You fume and start spinning around and having trouble focusing but it’s just so stressful she keeps making these last minute requests that throw off your entire week. This needs to stop. Maybe it’s time to start looking for another job.
THIS IS WHERE WE NEED TO PAUSE THIS SCENARIO.
Imagine that you’re coming out of your body in this situation and watching yourself… become the watcher.
The reason why you’re upset with your boss here is not because of her action, not because of her request.
The reason comes down to what you’re thinking about her action and request, and, what you’re making it all mean.
You’re feeling stressed not because of the request.
You’re feeling stressed and angry because of what you’re making it mean about her, about you, about your job, all of it.
Could there be an alternate way of looking at the situation?
Would every single person react the same way you did to it?
What if she forgot about the need for this analysis because the department is super short staffed right now and she’s having to fill in for a number of people.
What if her boss noticed some negative results in the business and freaked out on her and pushed for answers immediately.
What if the analysis from this report will help make a quick decision that will save the company a ton of money and help you make the quota for the quarter?
Could these be true?
Would you feel differently about your boss if you could think thoughts like these?
Would you be able to get to a feeling of empathy or at least a more neutral feeling vs. anger, stress or outrage?
In order to have an amazing relationship with anyone, including your boss, you need to be able to manage your thoughts about them, about what they say, do, don’t say, don’t do, all of it.
This is amazing news. It places us completely in the driver’s seat.
It helps us gain control by controlling ourselves and our thinking in any situation.
Sure, sometimes, you’ll feel negative emotions. These just bubble up automatically it seems when we’re confronted with certain situations.
YOU’RE HUMAN. WE ALL ARE. IT’S OK.
It’s not possible for us to control each and every thought that comes into our brain.
THIS IS NOT ABOUT “POSITIVE THINKING”
I cringe when I hear people tout “positive thinking” as the solution to all of the troubles of the universe. That’s a big topic that I’ll save for another blog article!
The process that I’m suggesting here is quite different from simple positive thinking.
It starts with the awareness that our thoughts are what drive our feelings in any situation.
And where things really start to shift for us in our lives and in our relationships is when we realize that we have 100% control over the thoughts that we choose to focus on and keep thinking.
Those thoughts drive our feelings about what’s happening around us.
In order to have a great relationship with your boss, you need to choose thoughts that will drive better feelings about your boss (if they are currently mostly negative).
Sometimes, this can be very challenging.
Bosses like to do things we don’t always love 😉
I’ll be doing a live call on this topic later this week with more examples and ways we can start to shift ourselves, and build amazing relationship with anyone.
Including “bad” bosses.
Hope you’ll join me!
It’s all happening on my Facebook page.
If you’re serious about growing your career and you’re not getting the traction you want, then we need to chat!