Seeing Eye to Eye: Tips for Effectively Working With Supervisors
The workplace is full of interactions each day everywhere you go. These interactions occur between colleagues, clients, customers, and, perhaps most dauntingly, supervisors. There’s an old stereotype that everyone has a negative relationship with their supervisor. At Contemporaries, we see that this doesn’t have to be true, and in fact, it rarely is. The vast majority of our employees enjoy the working relationship they have with their on-site supervisors, as well as the relationship they have with us at Contemporaries as their legal employer.
Still have concerns about working effectively with your supervisor? Do you have a current working relationship with your supervisor that you think could be going better? We’re here to help. This is likely one of the most important relationships you’ll have on a job, so make sure you take the steps to make it the best it can be. Along with our experience, we turn to the article by Lindsay Tigar in her article 5 Ways to Improve Your Relationship With Your Boss.
- Practice the pause: Here in our office, we use this method frequently with any interaction. Before you speak, particularly if what you’re about to say may be controversial, take a moment to pause and think. Taking even a few seconds will help you to process what to say, and also to consider how it might sound to your supervisor.
- In-person interaction: Do your best to do have the bulk of your conversations in-person, or at least over the phone. This is especially true if you have an important concern or topic to discuss. Sending endless emails back and forth might make sense for quick answers, but it doesn’t make sense to have critical conversations that way. With email and text, it’s impossible to read someone’s affect, tone, and other components. Most importantly, if you have a problem to discuss, don’t send it in a long email, and don’t send it after hours. No one wants to see a long email before or after work, particularly one about a difficult topic. If you have a concern you want to discuss, always do it in person in order to have a meaningful talk.
- Consider their perspective: Put yourself into your supervisor’s shoes and consider their priorities and why it is they’re asking you to do something, even if it doesn’t seem important to you. It always helps to consider the big picture, and the reason your supervisor has assigned you to a duty or project. Chances are that it’s important in the grand scheme of things.
- Prove yourself to them: Show that they can trust you by being dependable, responsive to constructive criticism, and professional. The more you show them you have their back, the more they’ll trust you. Further, this will prove to your other colleagues and supervisors that you have what it takes to do more and advance.