Your relationship with your supervisor, or manager, is a key factor in determining happiness in your job. You will want to put forth effort in this relationship from the beginning of your new job. A great way to do this is to meet with your supervisor or manager sometime during your first week of work. This initial meeting will set the tone for a healthy relationship with him or her and will lay the groundwork for a productive working relationship throughout your career.


After this meeting, make sure that you continue to build a relationship with your supervisor. Keep in mind that you need your boss’ support and guidance just as much they need your help and cooperation.

Here are five things you can do to get off to a great start with your supervisor:

  1. Respond to constructive criticism
  2. Ask questions
  3. Ask for feedback
  4. Be respectful
  5. Communicate regularly and voluntarily

respond to criticism

Respond to constructive criticism

Like it or not, it is part of your supervisor’s job to give constructive criticism. Although it can sometimes be tough to stomach, remember that this is something that everyone faces at some time or another. Part of building a relationship with your supervisor involves listening to the criticism and responding appropriately.

When you receive constructive criticism from your supervisor, here are 3 things to remember:

  1. Be professional. No matter what the criticism is, make sure to stay professional. Take a deep breath and listen to what is being said.
  2. Don’t take things personally. Remember that criticism is not a reflection of who you are; it is a way for you to improve yourself and become a better employee. View it as a growth opportunity rather than getting defensive about it.
  3. Try to control your feelings. Hear what your boss has to say, say thank you, and move on with your work. Keep in mind that it is a work situation, not your personal life.

ask questions

Ask questions

Asking questions is another important way to build a relationship with your supervisor. There are a few types of questions you can ask your boss to help build a great relationship:

  • Performance-specific questions are questions that focus on improving your personal work performance. (What can I do to be more successful this year? What can I do to improve my skills in this area?)
  • Relationship-building questions help your job and your boss’ job to run as smoothly as possible. (What can I do to help you be more successful this year? Where can I help out the most this week?)
  • Goal-related questions show that you value your job and are serious about your work. (Do you consider my goal valuable to the company? How can I improve my goal?)

asking questions

Ask for feedback

As the person who ultimately evaluates your performance, your supervisor has a large impact on your career. Asking for feedback is positive for your relationship because it shows your supervisor that you are self-reflective and care about developing as a professional. It can also help you avoid pitfalls that you don’t know exist. Remember that when asking for feedback, ask what you do well as well as what you can improve. This is not a performance evaluation, so stay clear of asking for performance ratings.

ask for feedback

Be Respectful

Being respectful is always important for your relationship with your supervisor. Always listen to your supervisor’s words and speak in a professional tone of voice. Be kind and polite even if you don’t feel like it. Remember that your supervisor is the boss and you are the employee. You don’t want to overstep your bounds, and you definitely don’t want to burn a bridge with him or her during your time at the company.


Communicate regularly and voluntarily

Communicating regularly and voluntarily with your supervisor shows that you value his or her input about your work. So, stop in to speak about your latest work or schedule a one-on-one meeting. Send emails with updates on significant events in your work. Do not be afraid to communicate with your boss first; it will show initiative on your part.

Thank you for tuning into this series on workplace readiness. If you would like to learn more about teaching workplace readiness skills, click the free trial link below.