Having a good relationship with your boss could be the primary reason you'll keep your job when others are losing theirs. Why? Simple: If he's told to let people go to save money, your boss will probably keep the employees he knows best and trusts most. The good news is there are lots of ways to support your boss and build a professional relationship with him - without coming off as a sycophant. The key: Remember that in tough times managers tend to favor self-directed, top performers.
Here are the five tips for building a healthy relationship with your boss.
Help your boss succeed: Don't ignore your own performance objectives, but do your part to help your boss achieve his business plan. You'll stand a better chance of meeting your own professional goals if you help your boss meet his.
Be trustworthy: If your boss shares information in confidence, keep it a secret. Never gossip about him behind his back. Being a trusted confidant is a sign of a healthy relationship - one that will lead to job security.
Pitch in: Volunteer for extra duties or take a few projects off your boss's plate. If your boss knows he can count on you to pick up some of the slack after a layoff, he's more likely to keep you around.
Be supportive: Compliment your boss every now and then. Being a manager can be a thankless job, and chances are he's not getting a whole lot of praise from senior executives right now.
Manage yourself: By all means ask for direction, guidance and support. But if you need constant support or need to be supervised closely, you're going to be in the crosshairs. When push comes to shove, your boss will opt to retain employees who will grab the ball and run with it.
First published Jan. 27, 2009