The key to developing a productive relationship with your boss is creating good chemistry. This is easy if it happens naturally. However, if it is not there, you can start to build rapport. The key is to subtly influence for the better. Here is how to start:

Understand Your Boss’s Personality

Just like anyone else, you need to understand their personality and how that may differ from yours. Stay flexible and open to what you can do differently. Practice adjusting to their style rather than expecting them to change to yours.

Discover Your Boss’s Passions

Think about or ask your boss what energizes them. Watch them in more casual settings like lunch or walking the hallways. What do you hear them talking about with others? If something sparks your interest, try that topic in your next discussion with them.

Know Your Boss’s Priorities

In meetings, note down what your boss highlights as priority. The more familiar you are with those key items, the better you will be able to speak their language when the time comes. As your boss notices that you pay attention to his/her priorities, you will make a solid impression

Discover Your Boss’s Passions

Focus on helping your boss get their job done by predicting what they need from you. Learn to forgive their mistakes or behaviors as long as they do not treat you disrespectfully. This will show your flexibility while creating the necessary rapport to influence them in the future.

An Example

You work for a boss who is often lashing out, and he becomes extremely angry at you in a meeting.

First, count backwards from ten to stay calm. Then respond:

“I am sorry you are so upset about this. Let me take a break to think this through more carefully. Can we regroup tomorrow at 2pm?”

Tell them you need time to digest what they have said and then leave no matter what they say. Taking this approach will set the boundaries you need while giving your boss time to reflect on their part of the issue.