If you want to put yourself in a position to build a strong professional relationship with your boss, while growing your career and managing up, you have to prove yourself as a reliable employee.

Taking the right kind of initiative can go a long way towards strengthening your relationship with your boss.


It's important to keep in mind that managers are not only responsible for your role and responsibilities and to a degree your career; they're also responsible for their duties as well.

If you really want to prove yourself to your boss, think of ways to work these four phrases into your workweek:

"Here's A Potential Solution"

A boss listens while his employee shares an idea with him.

Bosses hear a LOT of problems. And more often than not, they are expected to come up with the solution. The thing is: if it isn't their problem, they are not going to actively seek out solutions. Therefore, when you come to the boss with a problem, immediately follow it up with a proposed solution.

This accomplishes two things. First, it shows your manager that you are solution-oriented. You took the time to examine the problem and think about ways to address it. Secondly, your solutions are essentially saving the boss time and energy and those are both gifts to your manager. This approach is a huge win for you and the boss.

"Here's An Idea"

Two co-workers go over some ideas with their boss.

You should be a student of your company. You should be very familiar with the company goals, mission, and vision. You should also have a very good understanding of the company's challenges. When you know these challenges, you should spend some time each week working on ideas to solve those challenges that the company faces.

When you go to your manager to say you have an idea that will positively impact the company's bottom line, everyone wins. Bosses should love to hear ideas on how to make things more efficient and more profitable. Look for these ideas whenever you have down time at work.

"Let Me Show You"

An employee graphs out an idea in front of his boss.

On time-strapped days, it is so much easier to show someone something than it is to tell them. When pitching something to a boss or sharing an idea or even solving a problem, show him/her what you are talking about. Sketch it out, give them a flow chart, or show them anything visual and talk them through it. If you can, make a quick prototype. It is so much easier than using just your words when the chances are good that the boss is distracted.

Think about it: when you show people what you are saying, you have captured two of their senses, hearing, and seeing. If you give them something to hold—even better (three senses). This gets their attention and allows them to truly evaluate what you are trying to do for the boss or the company.

Always try to show people what you are talking about. It allows them to react to your idea in a more connected way.

"I Could Use A Little Mentoring"

Bosses are not solely responsible for your career. This is your responsibility.

If you need new challenges, want new opportunities, it is up to you to scope those out and present them to the boss. If you don't know how to do something or think that you could build out your skills even further, it is up to you to ask for mentorship.

As the protégé, you must take the active role in carving out time for the relationship. When you seek mentorship from your boss, know that it may not be the boss that becomes your mentor. Your boss may not even be the right mentor. However, they can be the one who facilitates an introduction. When you ask for this type of guidance, your boss knows that you own your experience and will work to support you.


Building a solid relationship with your boss is key to getting where you want to go in your career. These relationships will follow you throughout your career. These bosses will likely one day be the person you call on to be a reference. And when it comes time to be a reference for you, you want them to say that you were solution-oriented, respectful of their time, and full of an entrepreneurial spirit.


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This post was originally published at an earlier date.