In the professional world, getting along well with your manager is key. If the relationship works well, we have everything to gain: we evolve, we learn, we feel recognized. If it doesn’t, our daily lives can quickly turn into a nightmare or even push us to make a run for the hills. In 2018, a US survey conducted by Udemy revealed that nearly 50% of respondents had quit their jobs because of their manager. So to help you better understand and improve your relationship with your boss, we have put together a test designed with the help of Sylvie Bernard-Curie, a work psychologist, coach, and HR expert. Let’s go!
1. Most of the time, when you think about your boss, you feel:
- A) Affection
- B) Respect
- C) Fear
- D) Annoyance
- E) Admiration
2. If you’re having relationship problems with your partner:
- A) You talk about it easily with your boss over drinks after work or during lunch
- B) You bring it up in a one-on-one meeting, but only if it affects your work
- C) You can’t talk about it, you are too afraid they will use it against you
- D) You find it difficult to talk about it because you don’t like to be vulnerable
- E) You would like their opinion because it is important to you
3. You share hobbies with your manager outside of work:
- A) Once a week at yoga class
- B) Only if other colleagues join you
- C) Never, you spend enough time with them already!
- D) You prefer to avoid yet another ego war
- E) As long as they are passionate about the activity in question
4. In the middle of a meeting with your team, your boss proposes a plan of action for a project, but it seems unrealistic:
- A) You try to lighten the mood and make your point with humor
- B) You explain what is bothering you during a one-on-one meeting with your boss
- C) You keep your head down and say nothing, you must be wrong
- D) You fight for your point of view, whatever the cost
- E) Despite your doubts, you have always trusted their ideas, so why not this one?
5. The annual reviews are coming up and you want to move up in the company:
- A) You wait to have lunch with your manager to casually discuss the subject
- B) You wait for your annual review meeting to bring it up
- C) It’s not even worth thinking about, and you know that because they have made it clear with belittling remarks
- D) You have doubts about their ability to help you, or even suspect them of putting obstacles in your way
- E) You don’t dare to talk about it in case they think you’re trying to get away from them
6. When it comes to organizing your remote work:
- A) No problem, your boss lets you manage as you wish with total autonomy
- B) You have regular meetings with your direct manager
- C) You hide even the smallest breaks from them
- D) You do as much as possible so that they have nothing to complain about (hello overtime)
- E) You give them a minute-by-minute report even when they don’t ask
7. When you want feedback so you can improve:
- A) You don’t think twice about asking your manager for it directly after you have handed in your work
- B) You organize a dedicated meeting with them, after all, that’s what they are there for
- C) You don’t dare, you don’t even want to hear what they will say
- D) You don’t need their opinion, you’re doing fine on your own
- E) You ask them even if it’s stressful because the stakes for you are so high
8. If your boss is in trouble, they usually ask for your advice:
- A) On every issue, even those that do not concern you directly
- B) Only when you are in charge of the subject
- C) It doesn’t even cross their mind
- D) They would never spoil you with such a treat
- E) When they know that you share the same opinion
9. The day you are thinking of leaving…
- A) You are afraid of hurting your manager’s feelings
- B) You follow the company’s departure procedures without fuss
- C) You wait until the last moment to tell them, you are afraid they will get angry
- D) You are very happy to be able to tell them in person finally what you think and get it off your chest
- E) You alternate between the fear of lowering their esteem and the excitement of seeing the pride in their eyes
You answered mostly As: You have a close relationship
Expert analysis: You consider your boss a friend. This can be a good thing, but this good relationship can also play tricks on you. “Be careful, you could find yourself in a relationship that does not allow you to express yourself frankly because of a lack of distance,” warns Bernard-Curie. As a result, you may end up feeling frustrated because you are afraid to speak up.
Her advice: “You will agree that it is not always easy to be evaluated or to receive feedback when emotions are too present.” Moreover, you may be more emotional than your boss and this imbalance may weigh on you. “If you have had several line managers, ask yourself if you have always had this kind of dynamic,” advises Bernard-Curie. If you have, perhaps you could think of developing other aspects of your career, such as by going after professional achievements or finding a challenge to stimulate you.
You answered mostly Bs: You have a formal relationship
Expert analysis: Your approach to your boss is primarily professional in order to build your experience and this translates into a form of distance. You do what it takes to make them happy with you. You are not particularly close but you don’t have any problems with them, and maybe that’s for the best. You are in a relationship that allows you to expand, to move forward, and to accomplish.
Her advice: “Be careful to make sure that your boss is on the same page as you,” says Bernard-Curie. “If they really value closeness, maybe try to add that to your behavior – as much as you feel comfortable with – to warm up the relationship.” And if your boss is fueled by challenge, why not try to add some competition!
You answered mostly Cs: You have a toxic relationship
Expert analysis: The whole dynamic of your relationship with your boss is rooted in balance (or rather imbalance) based on too big an ego on their side and a silent acceptance on yours. Put simply, you are submissive and they are dominant.
Her advice: This doesn’t explain the why or how of this relationship. Maybe it’s your first job, or there’s nothing you can do because of your boss’s character, or you’re not interested in getting into a fight that won’t bring you anything. “In this case, take care of yourself,” says the specialist. “And if your appetite, sleep, and stress send you warnings, be ready to adapt your behavior to protect yourself.” Or even try to change your boss! To do this, don’t hesitate to refer to this guide, which is very useful in emergencies.
You answered mostly Ds: You have a challenging relationship
Expert analysis: You are constantly competing with your boss, whether it is mutual or personal. This dynamic stimulates you as much as it annoys you because it pushes you to be the best. But at what price?
Her advice: The real question here is whether it is too much. “Is it constructive challenge or challenge for the sake of challenge? Does it create tension or fun? For you? For your boss? Does it allow you to move forward together, to innovate, to solve problems? Or does it consume energy for nothing? And if so, whose energy?” Also beware of those around you, because this relationship can exhaust your colleagues too. “So to avoid exhaustion for you and others, you could perhaps add in a mix of formality, closeness, or mentoring,” says Bernard-Curie.
You answered mostly Es: You have a mentoring relationship
Expert analysis: Your boss is an authority figure. They have carried you, guided you, and followed you throughout your professional career. You have deep admiration for them – a feeling that can sometimes translate into great devotion on your part.
Her advice: Meeting boss mentors or sponsors throughout your career is a great experience. “They show you the way, help you to grow, and are neither too close nor too far from you,” says Bernard-Curie. But be careful, you should not stay at your job just for them, they will stay by your side anyway for the rest of your career! “Perhaps you can look for other mentors, or other role models,” she says. “And why not this time with a more formal or challenging perspective?”
NB: While this test has no scientific value, it was devised based on comments collected from Sylvie Bernard-Curie, executive coach, HR expert and psychologist
Photo: Welcome to the Jungle
Translated by Kim Cunningham
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