The Most Important Work Relationship You Have

We all know the importance of having good work relationships.  When you consider that the average person spends 10.3 years of their life working (based on a 40 hour work week between the ages of 20 and 65) then you realize just how important it is to get along with your colleagues. It also makes sense that the better our relationships are at work the happier and more productive we’re going to be.

But more important than having good work relationships with your colleagues is having a good work relationship with your boss. Think about it.

  • Your boss plays an instrumental part in your job satisfaction,
  • Your boss evaluates your performance and acts as a gatekeeper to the resources and career development you need and,
  • Your boss controls your bonuses, increases and promotion prospects.

So if ever there was a relationship for you to invest in – this is it.  Fulfilling your work duties and responsibilities will frequently depend on the direction, guidance and priority setting your boss gives you. This dependence will only work if it is based on an effective employer-employee relationship and clear communication between you and your boss. This means managing your relationship with your boss. 

"You don’t have to like or admire your boss, nor do you have to hate him. You do have to manage him or her so that he or she becomes your resource for achievement, and personal success. “ 

- Peter Drucker

If you're wondering how to manage your boss or how to manage upwards then read on...

Communication Lays the Foundation for a Good Relationship

Communication is fundamental to building a good relationship with your boss. As soon as you start working for someone you should make regular communication a priority and let them know:

  • What you’re working on,
  • What you’ve accomplished,
  • What your successes are,
  • What problems you’ve solved and,
  • What you’re doing to help your boss meet specific objectives.

Regular one to one Meetings With Your Boss Are the Key to Effective Communications and a Good Relationship

Your boss can’t give you guidance and direction or recognize your achievements based on what they don’t know. Your boss also doesn’t want to be drawn into a constant reactive mode when there are problems or challenges. This can easily happen if they only find out about problems once they’re huge.

Weekly one to one meetings with your boss are the single most effective way to:

  • Ensure good communications and,
  • Build a good employer-employee relationship.

Not only do they provide a communication channel for you to give your boss regular status updates but one to one meetings are also:

  • A time for you to discuss the things that are important to you,
  • A time for your boss to focus on you with performance feedback, questions, coaching and mentoring and task delegation.

To find out how to have effective one-on-ones with your boss register for the free one-on-ones mini-course which includes a one to one download with a one to one form to show you what to do in your one-to-ones:

How to Get Your Boss to Buy Into the Idea of one to one meetings

Hopefully you’re fortunate enough to have a boss who understands the importance of building good employer-employee relationships. And hopefully you’re fortunate enough to have a boss who is already having weekly one to one meetings with direct reports.

However, if one-on-ones with your boss aren’t standard management protocol then the bad new is that you can’t force your boss to have them either. But you can encourage these weekly meetings by highlighting the benefits:

  • Improved clarity and focus for you and your boss,
  • Proactive problem identification and resolution,
  • Improved employer-employee communications and relationships,
  • Increased performance to achieve goals and objectives,
  • Better focus on employee development.


A bad relationship with your boss can jeopardize your chances of promotion or send you to the unemployment line. But you can take steps to improve this important relationship.  If you’re not already having them then take the initiative to schedule weekly one-on-ones with your boss. 

P.S - A one to one form is he best way to plan and track your one-on-one meetings with your boss. Click here to get your one to one download and start planning your first on-on-one with your boss.


Do you have any comments, tips or questions about building better boss relationships? Do you have any questions about how to manage upwards? Help the rest of us out by sharing in the comments below.

Boss Camp

I bet your staff would rather be at the beach than working hard. But you’re the poor boss who’s responsible for their work. Managing is hard. Find out how to make managing easy at WWW.BOSS.CAMP. The program includes topics such as:

  • How to hire for performance,
  • How to motivate employees,
  • What are bad employee motivators,
  • What you must do as a manager but isn't on your job description,
  • How leaders get power.