How your boss can help you be happier at your job

Justin Thompson, CareerBuilder Writer

  • Email


Employees often benefit from the advice and mentorship of a great boss. If a worker is having an issue that prevents him from being completely satisfied with his job, a simple conversation with his boss could change things for the better. Yet bosses aren't always the most approachable people, and it can be intimidating to bring something other than good news to your manager's attention.

Job seekers were asked to identify ways their bosses could help them have higher job satisfaction. Here are the issues they identified, along with tips on how to broach each topic with your boss.

Issue: Career advancement
How to approach your boss: When it comes to career advancement, let your boss know that you want to acquire more skills through internal or external training. Research courses that will help you improve in your role or allow you to have more flexibility in moving up the corporate ladder. Typically, a company has money allotted for employee training, so it never hurts to ask.

Issue: Incentives for good work
How to approach your boss: You have to prove your successes in order to earn kudos or monetary rewards. You can't expect recognition without proof that you achieved or surpassed your goals. To do so, benchmark success and keep your boss keyed in on how you're performing. If you have ideas on incentives, consider suggesting them to your boss.

Issue: Lack of respect for your position
How to approach your boss: Sometimes a boss, especially one who was never in your position, may not understand what you do or may think you can't handle your tasks without supervision. To avoid a micromanager, be proactive in looping him in at every step along the way. Also be transparent about your tasks, and share your hurdles or successes so he is fully aware of the value you bring to the organization.

Issue: Absentee manager
How to approach your boss: Be willing to knock on your manager's door and ask for a few minutes to review your idea or to discuss a project on which you need more detailed direction. If your boss travels frequently and face-to-face time isn't possible, send a brief email that states exactly what you need feedback on and why you need it.

Issue: Lack of support or camaraderie
How to approach your boss: Simply put, treat your boss the way you want to be treated. Be willing to say hello and ask how she is doing or whether she had a good weekend. Chances are she'll start to reciprocate. It doesn't take a lot to be courteous, but sometimes others need someone else to initiate it. Just be cognizant that managers usually need to maintain some distance from their employees in order to stay professional.

Issue: Feeling belittled or disrespected by your boss in front of clients
How to approach your boss: If you think your manager is "throwing you under the bus" in meetings, schedule a one-on-one meeting to discuss how you're feeling. However, instead of making it personal, speak from a professional perspective -- having disagreements in front of clients is bad for business and may cost the company in the long run. Offer to set up time before meetings so that your boss can review and provide feedback on your materials.

Issue: Your boss doesn't trust you or let you do your job your way
How to approach your boss: If you have ideas on how you can be more effective or efficient at your job, present them to your boss. In most cases, you do have a choice in how to do your job, but unless you share your ideas with your boss, chances are he will have you do things his way. Meet to discuss what your manager's expectations are and if success can still be achieved through your methods. Or consider meeting him halfway. By showing your boss that you can be successful doing things your way, your boss will become more trusting of your capabilities.

Justin Thompson is a writer and blogger for CareerBuilder.com and its job blog, The Work Buzz. He researches and writes about job search strategy, career management, hiring trends and workplace issues.



Last Updated: 30/04/2012 - 5:09 PM


Article Reprints
Permission must be obtained from CareerBuilder.com to reprint any of its articles. Please send a request to reprints@careerbuilder.com.