On the career front, your relationship with your boss can be key to advancement. Just as a strong boss may motivate you to take action, an absent one may stall you from reaching your goals. Not all companies offer managerial training, so your boss may not know how to be the supportive, effective guide you need. If you are not satisfied with the current arrangement, you need to take the initiative to improve your relationship. Here are some ways to evaluate your boss and find what works for the two of you.
Assess the situation. Write a pro/con list about the strengths and weaknesses of your boss. Then study her behavior carefully for two weeks. In what circumstances is she helpful to you and when does she fail you? Does your boss favor certain people or treat everyone equally? Does your boss have a “mood disorder” and take it out on you and others? Do you think your boss enjoys being a manager or resents it as just one more burden on the to-do list?
Self-reflect. After you have done the assessment on your boss, do one on yourself. What do you need and want most from a boss? Is it motivation, knowledge, praise, valuable critiques, etc.? Zero in on what you want. Does your current supervisor have the ability and the willingness to be this kind of boss?
Talk it out. Review your job description and decide on one to three things that you would like from your boss. Schedule a meeting with her and ask for one of those things that you want, i.e. more experience learning a specific skill. Offer a solution as part of your request. If you get a positive response, great. If not, try it with another item on your list. If you get nowhere, then you need to decide whether to leave or stay.
Shop around. If you decided that this is not the place for you, then look for further opportunities both in your company and outside of it. Get to know other managers who may have some of the qualities that you’d like in a mentor. Be sure to network outside of your company as well. A better fit may reside elsewhere.
–Gail McMeekin, Career Coach