Don’t Forget About The Big Boss

Getting to know your boss and having a good professional relationship is important to your job, career and sanity. A good working relationship can lead to career success and professional longevity.

However, a relationship with those higher than you shouldn’t stop with your immediate supervisor. Knowing and having a relationship with your boss’s boss is just as important for your time with the company and your career.

Many people find themselves wondering what kind of relationship is ideal in this situation, how and when to interact with their supervisor’s boss, and how to develop and maintain this relationship while still respecting their own immediate supervisor.

As a result of not knowing the best answer to these questions, employees find themselves missing out on opportunities for growth and development. Rebecca Knight (Professor at Wesleyan University) has some excellent tips to avoid this.


Why You Should Get to Know Your Boss’s Boss

Your direct supervisor’s boss is closer to the leadership of the organization, and this person is more likely to have a better understanding of the company’s goals, mission, strategy and long-term plans. Having a strong relationship with this individual gives you access to a greater wealth of information, which, in turn, helps you make more educated decisions regarding your position.

A good relationship with your boss’s boss also puts another person in your corner for promotions, raises or excellent career-building opportunities. That person will be more likely to advocate for you and present you as a potential candidate if he or she knows you well.

Even so, it can be difficult to start or even maintain this relationship when you still want to show respect and professionalism to your immediate supervisor, without appearing to go over your supervisor’s head.


Five Top Tips for Success

  1. Be engaged and interested. Asking questions and demonstrating engagement and interest in your supervisors and the department, shows that you take your role in the company’s long-term growth seriously.
  2. Look for commonalities. Find something that you both truly enjoy and then connect. This could be things like movies, sports, fashion, a particular cause, technology and so on. Use them to connect, engage and develop the relationship.
  3. Be polite. Not everyone will like everyone — if that’s the case with your boss’s boss, maintain a polite and cordial relationship.
  4. Be bold and valuable. Don’t be scared to take on more responsibility or larger assignments, and seek out leadership positions that will help you stand out. Share your ideas and solutions. Also, don’t be afraid to blow your own horn about all of this, once in a while.

But always remember. You still have to report to your direct manager. Your first priority should always be to build and maintain the relationship with your direct supervisor.

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