It should come as no surprise that the relationship that you have with your manager is critical to your advancement within the company. This is a relationship that you should be fostering on a daily basis. But it is not about trying to become his or her friend – although that probably would not hurt. It is more about developing a relationship that is built upon mutual respect. And this takes time.
One of the best ways to build rapport with your manager is to demonstrate that you are a proactive problem solver. It is one thing to notice a problem within the way that business is currently conducted. Of course, you will want to make your manager aware of the issue. However, what will go a lot further in his or her eyes is if you also come with a solution to solve that problem.
Another way to show that you are attentive and caring is to look for ways that can help your manager directly. What can you do that will lift some of their workload and help you grow your own skillset and responsibilities at the same time?
Chances are that you check in with your manager on a regular basis. If not, this is something that you should start doing. Use this time to not only update him or her on your projects and workload, but to also discuss your professional goals and areas of interest. When a new project arises, your manager will be more likely to think of you for the task (or the promotion) – particularly if you have already demonstrated that you are a team player and creative problem solver.
There is another important professional relationship that you should be nurturing: one with a mentor. If you do not already have one, think about how you want your career to evolve and look for someone who has currently worked their way into that position. By having open communication with this person, you can learn about the strategies they used and the lessons they learned along the way. This guidance can be invaluable. Not to mention, they can help keep you encouraged and accountable in your own journey.
These two relationships – with your manager and your mentor – are ones that you should be actively growing. When it comes to getting a promotion, your name is more likely to come up because you will have actively demonstrated your value in the office, while continuing to get advice from outside of the office. Not only will this make your time at work more enjoyable, but you are also more likely to be successful in your career.