He is not the enemy. He can be your greatest ally.
The boss. The head honcho. The one who holds the purse strings. The one who hires. The one who fires. The one you answer to. There are many connotations to being a boss. Many times that title can put up a barrier, intimidate us, and actually make us less productive. The traditional corporate world often supports the idea that the boss is untouchable, that he only wants results, and if you don’t meet his expectations, you’re fired.
Well, that’s just one side of the coin whose view has been influenced by numerous TV shows and movies that thrive on creating drama. Although there are bad bosses who are less than satisfactory, there are many who are excellent and who, in every sense of the word, are leaders and mentors who set great examples.
“A boss creates fear, a leader confidence. A boss fixes blame, a leader corrects mistakes. A boss knows all, a leader asks questions. A boss makes work drudgery, a leader makes it interesting” - Russell H. Ewing, Journalist
Despite what image has been created regarding them, making friends with your boss might just be one of the best choices you ever make as you can set yourself up for a life of growth, development, and success.
Here are three simple reasons why you should make friends with your boss.
1. Exponential Increase in Expertise
Behind the title of a boss is a whole wealth of experience and information. How else could he get where he is and establish a company without having gone through the process of learning, failing, and picking himself up again and again? He is most likely an expert in his own field - one that you are a part of, and one where you too can thrive.
By befriending your boss, you can tap into that treasure chest of information. You can gain a mentor who will show you the ropes, teach you the tricks, and help you succeed. You’ll understand what it takes to be successful, what it takes to build your own name in the industry, the sacrifices that need to be made, and you’ll get a glimpse of the success that awaits at the end of the tunnel.
Instead of dreading moments of contact with the boss and feeling shy around him, try to make each interaction a learning experience. Take initiative, ask questions, and show interest even if you feel like you’re inexperienced. Your initiative will show him that you are passionate about what you do, and that you will stop at nothing to learn everything you can about the business. The more equipped you are, the more you can contribute - It’s a win-win situation.
“Stop the 'will you be my mentor?' emails and start being present to embrace the learning opportunities all around you. Ask your colleagues and executive team members for their points of view. Seek advice from your direct leader or leader once removed. Start having conversations and soaking in the mentorship moments.” -Robert Herjavec, Businessman
2. Boost Work Productivity and Efficiency
Believe it or not, befriending your boss can help increase productivity in the workplace. Your boss possesses the vision and goals for the company. By befriending your boss, you have a chance to unite yourself with that vision and to understand it better.
Also, due to the proximity to the boss, you can better understand what is expected of you, and you can see the gaps in the company that need filling . You’ll have a better understanding of where you fit in and how you can make yourself matter.
It no longer becomes a relationship where you work 9 to 5 for a boss to produce results in order to get paid. It becomes one where you work together with a partner in order to carry out a mission and a dream that will make a difference. Work then has a purpose beyond the money giving you that extra motivation to get up every morning and put your heart in your work.
“All the top companies in the world with high performance cultures, such as Facebook, Nike, LinkedIn and Apple all recruit based on people's alignment to both the purpose and the values (ethical behaviours for business success).” -Marie-Claire Ross, CEO and Trust Leadership Expert
3. Meaning-Based Worklife
The last reason is simple yet important. In this life, all of us are looking for happiness that will fill our hearts. There is nothing more exhilarating than a sense of fulfillment. If we do something worthwhile, we consider that time well spent.
“For many today, meaning is the new money. It’s what people are looking for at work. Clear company values, translated into the day-to-day work experience, are one of the strongest drivers of an engaged workforce, one primed for successful collaboration.” -Tammy Erickson, Business Author
By making friends with your boss and identifying yourself with the mission and vision, by finding a mentor in him, and by finding your motivation to go to work and making a difference, you make work more than just a day job. As again, it becomes a mission, and it becomes something truly worth doing; something that fulfills.
Considering the amount of time we spend on our work, the time it takes to commute, and the time we spend at our desks, it’s important for us to feel like this is time that just doesn’t pass us by, but is time that fulfills.
“More than 9 out of 10 employees, we found, are willing to trade a percentage of their lifetime earnings for greater meaning at work.” - Harvard Business Review
So, it’s time to make a transformation in the workplace. Don’t be afraid of your boss. Learn from him or her. Don’t be shy. Seek to contribute. Don’t work just for the money. Believe in a mission. Don’t just waste the productive times in your life. Make them count.