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If you’ve worked at multiple jobs, chances are you’ve probably read plenty of articles on how to improve your relationship with a passive aggressive boss. Or maybe you’ve had a workaholic manager and you’ve done your fair share of research on how to establish boundaries months into a job. Perhaps your boss sets unrealistic expectations and then places the work of meeting them on your shoulders. 

While it is definitely possible to have a good working relationship with someone even after having an issue, who wouldn’t love to establish ideal patterns as soon as possible? If you’re about to start a new job with a new boss, keep reading to learn how you can establish a positive and productive relationship with your supervisor from the start.  

Transfer Your Experience

We often move from job to job without reflecting on our previous job experiences. Starting a new job can be a relief and just really exciting as you eagerly attempt to put the previous toxic or monotonous work experience behind you. But this enthusiasm to start a new chapter should not come at the expense of self-reflection. 

Make time to consider the lessons you learnt from your previous position and work relationships. How did your strengths and weaknesses affect your relationship with your previous boss? What are some work-related patterns you promised yourself you’d shed or develop? 

If you are about to start at your first job, you can draw from your extracurricular or volunteer engagements. You can also refer to family and friends and ask what the biggest lessons are that they’ve learned. Whether it’s your personal experience or others’ experiences, you have access to plenty of advice that can and should be transferred to your current position.  

Communicate Your Needs/Style

You’ve read it in every self-help book and on every blog: communication is key in all your relationships. The same goes for your work relationships! Establishing transparent and direct communication patterns is especially important in an employee-employer relationship because of the hierarchical nature of the relationship. You may have a hard time establishing boundaries with your boss after an issue has already occurred because you’re afraid of appearing sensitive or worried that you may experience a repercussion as a consequence of voicing your concerns. 

While you can and should voice any concerns after an incident, you may find it easier to take the preemptive route. Be sure to meet with your boss early on and communicate your needs, conflict resolution style, and time management style. It is very likely that you have already discussed these points with the HR during your interview so bring it up with your boss while your comments are still fresh in your mind. 

By communicating your needs to your employer from the get-go, you’ve set parameters for what to expect from each other. You can operate at your best knowing that your employer is now knowledgeable in how to best relate to you. 

When you are communicating your needs with your manager, be sure to remain calm and professional. Remember that you are working together on a team, and assume the best of your boss until proven otherwise. People will often surprise you with how amazing they are and how willing they are to work with you.

Contribute to the Environment

It may seem a little early for this point if you’ve just starting out in your new position, but it’s never too early to overachieve in your job. Providing work performance that surpasses the bare minimum tells your boss that you’re serious about the company’s overall mission and about growing in your specific field. 

Participating in meetings, completing assignments ahead of time or asking to take the lead on projects will show off your work ethic and, as a result, will lessen their need to micromanage your work. This in turn will ensure a healthy amount of space between you and your supervisor and decrease opportunities for tense working situations.

Seek Out Feedback 

Receiving feedback doesn’t have to just take place during your quarterly evaluations. It doesn’t have to be a major event either. Asking your boss for feedback after completing an assignment communicates that you are interested in developing your skills and expanding your knowledge of expertise. Going out of your way to inquire about your work performance speaks to your professionalism and ability to take initiative. These are two attributes which are never taken for granted in the workplace.


Your boss is there to help you and the company thrive. Most managers do, in fact, want the best for you and are willing to work with you. Many are open to helping you achieve your ambitions within a company and in your broader career. While this is not true of every boss, assuming the best of someone will often get you great results. 

Photo by Pablo Varela on Unsplash

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