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Why You Shouldn’t Treat Your Boss Like the Enemy

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By Marshall Loeb

RISMEDIA, August 29, 2007-(MarketWatch)-A recent Gallup Poll found that a bad relationship with the boss was the No. 1 reason people gave for leaving their jobs. But if you want to keep moving up the corporate rungs, you better make nice.

Having an antagonistic relationship with your supervisor is a career killer, says Cynthia Shapiro, author of the book “Corporate Confidential.”

“No matter how skilled you are, if you don’t have a good relationship with your boss, your job is not secure,” warns Shapiro.

After all, your boss is the person who determines whether or not you’ll get the raise, the promotion and that corner office you’ve had your eye on. And guess what: if your boss doesn’t think you’re on the team, you probably won’t get any of it.

So how can you overcome your natural aversion to being told what to do? The trick is to treat your boss like a client, says Shapiro. Pretend like you’re in business for yourself and that your boss is your most important (and quite possibly your most difficult) client.

Ask how you can provide quality service, and what you can do to differentiate yourself from the competition. And then do it. When he says or does something that leaves you feeling disgruntled, treat him as you would any other client: respectfully. Remind yourself that your livelihood depends on pleasing your client.

Even if you don’t like your boss, it’s imperative that you find a way to respect her, says Shapiro. So if you’ve already fallen into an adversarial relationship, swallow your pride and repair the damage. Apologize for your bad attitude and assure her that you’re committed to improving your performance.

Your future success both within the company and outside of it hinges on your boss’s referrals, says Shapiro, so you have to leave him happy.

Marshall Loeb, former editor of Fortune, Money, and the Columbia Journalism Review, writes for MarketWatch.

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