building positive relationships with direct managers helps career progression and personal development

Positive Relationships With Managers: 7 Principles

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Who this micro-class is for

* Employees and staff members

What you’ll learn

* How to build a positive relationship with your manager

* How to avoid the most common mistakes


* Less than 8 minutes to complete

About this micro-class

Building a positive relationship with your direct manager is crucial for professional success and job satisfaction. 

Every professional relationship is unique, so it’s essential to adapt these principles and practices to fit the specific dynamics of your workplace and the preferences of your manager.

Principles for a Positive Relationship with Managers

1. Communication

Best Practice: Maintain open and honest communication. Regularly update your manager on your progress and challenges. Be prepared to provide supporting data and documentation.

Mistake: Withholding information or failing to communicate issues promptly.

2. Clarity on Expectations

Best Practice: Clearly understand your manager’s expectations regarding your role, responsibilities, and goals.

Mistake: Assuming expectations without seeking clarification or not seeking feedback on your performance.

3. Initiative and Proactiveness

Best Practice: Take the initiative to identify areas where you can contribute and go above and beyond your assigned tasks.

Mistake: Waiting for instructions without showing initiative or failing to take ownership of your work.

4. Feedback

Best Practice: Seek constructive feedback regularly and use it to improve your performance.

Mistake: Reacting negatively to feedback or not actively seeking ways to grow and develop.

5. Problem Solving

Best Practice: Be solution-oriented. When problems arise, come up with potential solutions and be willing to collaborate on resolutions.

Mistake: Bringing problems to your manager without offering any suggestions for solutions.

6. Professionalism

Best Practice: Maintain a high level of professionalism in your interactions with your manager. Be reliable, punctual, and respectful.

Mistake: Allowing personal issues to affect your professional behavior or being consistently unreliable.

7. Adaptability

Best Practice: Be adaptable to changes and willing to take on new challenges.

Mistake: Resisting change or being inflexible in the face of evolving work requirements.

Best Practices for a Positive Relationship with Managers

Regular Check-Ins

Schedule regular one-on-one meetings with your manager to discuss your progress, challenges, and any concerns you may have.

Goal Alignment

Ensure that your individual goals align with the team and organizational objectives. This helps demonstrate your commitment to the broader mission.

Professional Development

Discuss your career goals and aspirations with your manager. Work together to create a plan for your professional development.

Positive Attitude

Maintain a positive attitude even in challenging situations. Positivity can be contagious and contribute to a healthy work environment. 

Don’t antagonize your manager. Use positive words and body language. Never use a sarcastic or ironic tone.

Respect Boundaries

Respect your manager’s time and workload. Be mindful of their schedule and prioritize discussions and meetings accordingly.

Common Mistakes in Relationships with Managers

Lack of Accountability

Failing to take responsibility for mistakes or not owning up to challenges can erode trust with your manager.

Poor Communication

Miscommunication or lack of communication can lead to misunderstandings. Always strive for clarity in your interactions.

Ignoring Feedback

Disregarding constructive feedback or failing to act upon it can hinder your professional growth.


Relying too much on your manager for guidance without demonstrating independent problem-solving abilities can be a drawback.

Office Politics

Getting involved in office politics or gossiping about colleagues can harm your professional image.

Test Your Knowledge and Earn a Free Micro-certificate

Earn a free micro-certificate with a quick quiz!

Resources and useful links