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How to Manage Your Manager? How to Have a Productive Relationship with Your Manager?

Updated: Aug 29, 2021

Manager - Employee Relationship

This is an interesting relationship. I read somewhere that managers are like parents, always checking in on us, what we do, how we did it, where we are etc. This actually made me laugh but it also felt true. However, managers are really supposed to be trusting their employees and teams to do their job and just oversee activities, progress, deal with issues proactively etc rather than to micro manage and tell you every second what to do.

I do not want this blog to be about what type of managers are out there. Let's focus on having a productive working relationship first regardless of their type.

So let's cut to the chase. If we do not like our managers, this will have a huge impact on our productivity and drive to perform well in our roles.

Another useful example. If you are ever offered a few roles and you just do not know which one to accept, always start with the manager. If you did not like the manager, then you are very likely not to like your role and enjoy your new work relationship. I suggest that you politely decline it and accept the one where you actually connected with the manager. This is a big driver even if there is a salary drop, you want to enjoy your job every day after all and feel good about it.

Many studies often state that employees leave their managers not companies and organisations they work for. This is pretty much still the case today.

Top Tips on How To Have a Productive Relationship with Your Manager

If it is a new line manager you have not worked with before, this should be super easy for you to follow and apply in practical terms.

I always start by asking mostly open ended questions in order to generate a conversation rather than 'yes' or 'no' asnwers. I like to ask following questions (which are also a great conversation starter):

  1. What is your working style?

  2. What is your communication style? How do you like to communicate, emails (long or short), can I ring or text?

  3. What are your expectations of this role?

  4. What are my key measurable objectives?

  5. If I wanted to excel in my role, could you share some examples as to what you would like to see both in terms of behaviours and tangible evidence?

  6. How often should we have meetings? Let's book them now as reoccurring meetings in our diary.

  7. Could I have a random meeting or conversation if need be?

This approach will really cut to the chase and you will have agreed how to work together upfront without you thinking what they want or think of you.

If this is your current manager, I would still ask above questions and tailor them where needed. Some further questions for your consideration:

  1. We have now worked for 6-12 months, is there anything I need to change or do more of/less of? Feedback opportunity. If they cannot articulate it well, I suggest that you ask - what are the 3 things you think I should work on to make sure I continue to perform successfully or to improve my performance?

  2. If you have a problem or issue, ask them for an option or feedback as to how you could have dealt with it or should deal with it. It is often a great trust builder question and they will appreciate you are seeking their views and encourage you to reach out for advice or guidance as and when you need it.

  3. Ask them if they have any concerns in general (work wise of course) and if there is anything you could assist with.

Anything else to add? Do you have any more examples?

These have worked really well for me over the last 10 years and I often do the same with my stakeholders, peers and customer group to build trusting and lasting work relationships.

One to One

I offer various one to one sessions to have a general chat or focus on a relevant area you want to understand more about and progress with actionable activities. You can check it out HERE.

I hope this helps and let me know if you have any questions.

Best wishes


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2 comentarios

Miembro desconocido
23 ago 2021

Loved reading this thankk you

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Sanja Williams
Sanja Williams
23 ago 2021
Contestando a

Thank you Ivan. Glad you have found it useful. I will embark more on similar topics as it’s not often discussed in practical and simple terms. Best wishes. Sanja

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