Have you ever worked for a supervisor who doesn’t quite get you? Perhaps, one you feel doesn’t prioritize your success. Steps can be taken to address such an issue, but the outcome depends on leadership characteristics.
From childhood to adulthood, you hear everything there is to know about teamwork and how it spawns togetherness between two or more individuals, creating understanding and compassion, and making everyone feel involved and whole. Yet, the older you get, the more you see and hear about how much dysfunction there is amongst employers and employees. What’s the reason for this? Well, there is no one simple answer. Excellent working relationships involve a myriad of qualities, but they start with trust.
Working relationships are no different than personal ones in that they’re built by trust. If you have no faith in the leaders around you at work and believe they don’t have your career’s best interest in mind, you’re destined to fail. For starters, nine times out of ten, you must have a productive working relationship with your organization’s hierarchy to succeed. Put simply; you don’t want to just get along with your supervisor. You want to grow with them and your entire team. It reminds me of the saying,
“The whole is greater than the sum of its parts.”
Meaning, your contributions as a team will always matter more than individual ones.
The ideal scenario for you and your supervisor’s relationship type is symbiotic with mutual benefit. It’s your supervisor’s role to get the best out of you. To set goals, assist you in achieving them, acknowledge their completion, and reward you accordingly. In turn, it’s your responsibility to be transparent with your supervisor, letting them know your genuine thoughts while handling constructive criticism productively by continually self-assessing, planning out steps for improvement, and executing them.
Furthermore, part of being transparent means discussing priorities. If you and your supervisor’s priorities and ambitions don’t align, the path to envisioned success will take a quick detour to confusion and misunderstanding. Go too far down this detour, and you’ll wish you would’ve acknowledged these priorities sooner. However, always remember that every relationship is a two-way street. If you’re doing your part, it’s up to the opposing figure to do the same. Don’t wait for someone else to bring up your quarrels, either. Instead, address your concerns as professionally and courteously as possible.
Employees often wait for leadership to bring up concerns. While this strategy can be successful, it begins and ends with you and your supervisor’s relationship. Interestingly enough, this situation proves to be one where you can improve your leadership qualities. Don’t be afraid to speak up for yourself. You should never become over-reliant on one person to determine your career trajectory, whether positive or negative. At the end of the day, it’s your career, and you alter the narrative. It may take time and determination, but so does anything worth doing in life.
Before a job or career, you are a person. Humans aren’t perfect; we all make mistakes, get emotional, and say or do things we shouldn’t. You never know what’s going on in someone’s life and the personal problems they face. All of life’s variables can tremendously affect the people you see in front of you daily and the decisions they make. Remembering this goes a long way in improving relationships and helps you to grow as a leader. By capitalizing on strengths and acknowledging shortcomings, you only further your difference-making ability. Establish teamwork, build trust, prioritize, lead well, and watch your working relationships flourish.