Communicating with anyone can be difficult. It can seem even worse when that person is your superior at work.


Communicating with your boss is a learned skill. There are a few things you can do to open the lines of communication. If you communicate effectively, your boss is likely to respond by being more communicative with you. The more everyone communicates, the more successful the entire team will be.


Here are a few things you can do to communicate with your manager more effectively:


  • Spend time together – The goal of every team is for everyone to be on the same page. The only way to do that is to work together. You don’t need to go for beers, but it will be helpful to work a few hours together every week so you can communicate all the minor considerations that pop into your mind randomly.
  • Make the boss look good – Everyone wants to look good to their bosses. Everyone is working to make their boss and their company look good. If you make your boss look good, she looks good to her boss and so on. You don’t need to be a brown-noser; just do good work that makes the boss look good. 
  • Communicating well – Effective communication is not something that comes naturally. You need to communicate with your boss often and clearly. If there are questions, ask them so you’re clear on what they want. If you communicate your ideas and concerns to them, they feel more in control and a boss needs to feel in control.
  • Ask for help and feedback – Ask your boss for his opinion. Many will volunteer it, but ask for it. By asking you’re making it clear you’re not afraid of criticism and you believe in what you’re doing. It conveys that you care about the project and his opinion. 
  • Be responsible – Take responsibility for what you do. If a mistake is made, own it. If something goes well, take credit. Being accountable is one of the best ways to work with your boss. They want to know that you’re trying things, but they also need to know that someone will own and learn from mistakes.
  • Stop complaining – Bosses expect their staff to complain about them behind their backs all the time, but don’t. Even if your boss never hears about how you’re constantly taking them down, it changes how you see them in subtle ways. When you’re working with them, those emotions will bubble up and make your relationship that much worse. Negativity is insidious; you can’t see the effect it’s having until it destroys your job.


The most important thing to remember when dealing with managers is that they’re humans who have ambitions, feelings, and bosses themselves. If you treat your managers as you would like to be treated, it will make work better for them and you.