Studies show that 25 percent of employees do not trust their boss. And, more than 2 million Americans voluntarily leave their jobs every month, with one of the top reasons cited being they just don’t like their boss.
Getting along with your boss can be challenging because we each have our own communication style. Bridging the communication gap is key to building a relationship with your boss, or anyone for that matter.
The first step to improve communications is to identify your own communication style and the style of your boss. Equipped with this information, you can modify the way you communicate to get positive results. Don’t change to be more like your boss, instead communicate with him or her in a way that will maximize their attention and involvement.
Here are the four most common communicator types and some advice on how to best communicate with each:
The Director. This type of manager has a short attention span, processes information quickly and is most interested in the “bottom line.” Because they are quick processors of information, it is best to come to them with a bulleted list of conclusions. This type of communicator tends to guard their time, so always prepare thoroughly before you begin speaking with them and expect interruptions. Plan to start precisely on time and possibly end early.
The Free Spirit. If your boss is a free spirit you will have to learn to be patient. This type of manager is typically a creative, “big picture” person who thrives on options but is not always strong on follow through. Their attitude towards time limitations or structure is relaxed so you should be prepared for lots of changes in direction. When communicating with them, give them enough time to assimilate what you’ve said and think about it. Because they can be scattered you should also be prepared to discuss lots of topics at once without necessarily finishing one thoroughly before going on to the next. Plan to start late and end late.
The Humanist. For the humanist to be happy everyone else has to be happy too. This type of manager is very concerned with the feelings of others and always wants to be sure that the needs of others are thoroughly met. Be prepared to have anything you present to them passed around the entire department for full consensus. Communicating with this type of manager requires patience and tact. Plan to spend more than your allotted time discussing issues.
The Historian. This type of manager thrives on detail and reacts best to structure and precision. They respect people who provide them with thorough analyses and background information. They tend to process information in a very linear and methodical way and do not like to jump from subject to subject. When communicating with them it’s important to discuss things in an orderly and step-by-step fashion. Plan to arrive on time and remain patient.
Remember, if you’re not getting along with your boss, you have to change. Focus on what your boss needs. Then you’ll get what you need. And, ultimately create a more enjoyable work environment.