Your relationship with your boss is probably the most critical relationship that you have at work; it actually plays a major role in how you perceive your current job and may also impact your ability to succeed in the career of your choice.

Many talented people are stuck in the conventional wisdom of expecting their bosses to manage them. They take a passive approach in whatever they do at work, waiting for orders and direction. They may even whine about a bad boss, but do little or nothing to turn things around. Let’s face it; there are actually a lot of “bosses from hell” out there, and it is unlikely that you will be able to control your boss, but there is actually something you can do to turn things around, and that is to “Manage your Boss”.

Managing your boss is not about being manipulative or kissing up to your boss. Rather, it is a conscious effort to build a relationship of trust, respect, support and acknowledging who is superior while maintaining the freedom to do what is best for the company, the team and your own career. Here are a number of helpful techniques that will help you improve your relationship with your boss.

Get to Know your Boss

When it comes to effectively managing your boss, you must really get to know your boss in both the professional and informal contexts. After all, your boss might be a great person but your negative attitude is keeping you from seeing his good side. Knowing your boss’ priorities will help you improve the way you work and manage your time. When you tie your activities to what matters most to your boss, you become a more valuable team player. With that being said, keep in mind that your boss, like yourself, is a human being with a job to do at the end of the day.

Ask for Both Feedback and Criticism

A good working relationship between you and your boss is one that encourages two-way feedback and fosters honest conversation. While compliments are always nice to receive, if you want to advance in your career and make a good impression, the ability to positively receive constructive criticism from your boss is often more useful. If your boss doesn’t coach you regularly, be sure to take the initiative to ask about things that you can do in order improve your performance. Talking to your boss about your different perspectives and how they affect the way you see the same things will help you both gain a better understanding of each other’s positions.

Keep your Boss in the Loop

When you’re working really hard, it’s easy to assume that your boss knows precisely what you’re doing. Your boss obviously has other subordinates to manage and bigger responsibilities to take care of, so it is very possible that in the chaos of daily pressures and changing priorities, your contribution will get lost in the shuffle. Make sure that your boss knows exactly what you’ve accomplished so far without showing off; after all, it’s up to you to stand out!

Take Initiative to Impress your Boss

Don’t wait for your boss to tell you what to do. The less direction you require, the more you will be perceived as an independent competent professional. Offer to help your boss when you have the time to do so. Make sure that these initiatives clearly make an impact and that they are visible and meaningful to others as well. In other words, if you go outside the boundaries of your job description, choose to work on things that matter most to your boss.

Stay on Good Terms with your Boss

Never burn bridges! Whether you get along with your boss or you can’t think of one positive thing to say about him, try to stay on good terms at all times even if you hate your boss. Being decent and respectful may prove to be more rewarding than giving your boss a piece of your mind; in spite of everything, you never know when that boss may be contacted to comment on your performance. Make leaving your firm, whenever that might happen, a chance to build a bridge!

Your relationship with your boss can be a gateway to unlimited opportunities for your career growth and on-the-job advancement, if nurtured properly. Maintaining a harmonious relationship with your boss can make all the difference in your career progress, your relationship with your coworkers and in your reputation in the industry as a whole, even after you leave the company.

While it’s unlikely that you will ever find the perfect boss, learning how to manage your own will help you build a productive and communicative working environment in which both of you achieve the results that matter to you most.

Working for the right person can definitely be 10 times better for your career and professional development, but this might not always be the case. If you find yourself working under a boss who is performing badly, then you don’t have to be the victim of his own weaknesses; consider switching jobs. For more on “Switching Jobs”, click here.