Monday, April 2, 2012

Career Coach: How do I create and maintain a good working relationship with my boss without appearing “sipsip?”

Few people in your workplace will have the same impact on your professional life as your boss. As your chief mentor and motivator, your boss can greatly contribute to your development as a professional and as a person.

Given the influence that bosses have over one’s career, it would be a logical move to try to create and maintain good relationships with them. Still, only a handful of people can claim to have friendly relationships with their bosses. So what stops them?

In Filipino culture, the concept of “sipsip” – or brownnosing, ingratiating oneself with a person to facilitate one’s advancement – is quite pervasive, particularly in the workplace setting. Still, bosses are people too and can definitely appreciate and welcome friendship and respect from anyone – even their subordinates.

“I remember once commenting that I liked how my boss looked when her picture came out in magazine,” says Beanie, a marketing supervisor in an Internet company. “Objectively speaking, she is quite pretty. But when one of the office loudmouths heard my comment, she quickly remarked that I was being ‘sipsip’ – within earshot of a lot of people! It was pretty embarrassing.”

Placing the issue of office busybodies aside, how do you befriend your boss without being too ingratiating? Heard on this week’s Career Coach discussions is the advice to know one’s boundaries.

“In an office environment, you can be as caring and thoughtful as you want to be to your manager provided that when it comes to work, you still do what is expected, delivering his or her expectations on time and with an exemplary quality of service.” says Beth Miranda, HR Manager of Sandstone Technology. “So when you get a good review from your manager during your performance evaluation, your colleagues will not think that the reason you got it is because you were being ‘sipsip’ to your boss. At the end of the day – what is important – and hopefully will be appreciated and rewarded – is the quality and quantity of services you have delivered to the company and not only to your manager.”

In her Washington Post article Your Friend, Your Boss, Perhaps Your Loss, Sarah Schafer cites two rules in being friends with your boss. First is for both of you to maintain an “open door” policy. People in the office will notice when the boss closes his or her door to speak to someone. If you’re often the person the boss has these “closed-door” conversations with, they will feel resentful.

Second, Shafer advises including other people in your circle. Try to keep inside-jokes and one-on-one asides out of the meeting. Your boss should solicit everyone’s opinion equally. You, on the other hand, shouldn’t monopolize the conversation.

Befriending your boss is definitely a challenge, considering that from time to time, it will come under the eyes of other people in the organization. Still, that shouldn’t stop you from getting to know your boss as a person. Just do your job well and know the value that you give to the company

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