33 Keys to Rapport With Your Boss

August 18, 1995

In this age of corporate non-commitment to long term employment, having and maintaining a good rapport with your manager/supervisor may spell the difference with having a job after the next workforce redeployment and collecting unemployment insurance.

While the following was originally aimed at managers, it is also applicable to the working engineers. Published originally in "The Corporate Coach," a handbook for managers written by James Miller and Paul Brown, the 33 points below captures the attitudes that many bosses now look for in the employees they push ahead.

When going over these points, you may want to ask yourselves:

1. Does my manager support it?

2. Is my personal style consistent with this corporate value?

3. How can I change so that my manager views me as a supporter of this value and as a loyal team member?

If you answer yes to question 1 and no to question 2, you may want to give some serious thoughts to question 3.


1. This manager has learned to work with me.

2. This manager asks what I need, tells me to consider it done, and delivers.

3. This manager does not assume he knows what I want.

4. This manager handles major responsibilities. But he also follows through on the little things.

5. This manager acts on my instructions and provides me with regular progress reports on project implementation.

6. This manager tends to under-promise and over-deliver.

7. This manager involves every staff person in providing good service and information. They all realize that satisfying senior management is a vitally important part of their jobs.

8. This manager asks me what's wrong at the first tangible sign of irritation. he asks if he senses a problem.

9. This manager empowers his staffers so that they can meet the report and information needs of top executives.

10. This manager doesn't relax. Even when things are moving smoothly, he checks in with me and tries to find new ways to lift engineering's role.

11. This manager makes quality a job responsibility for each staffer.

12. This manager makes quality specific. He defines quality through tangible goals.

13. This manager publicizes and explains to his employees each decision that we make that improves quality.

14. This manager plans from four perspectives: weakness, opportunities, threats, and strengths.

15. This manager gives staffers the responsibility for making their own plans happen. He knows they will work hardest to achieve their own ideas.

16. This manager shares our vision. He communicates corporate and department goals and plans so that every staffer knows our objectives.

17. This manager explains to me the changes that he wants to make in reports and procedures and how they will make engineering information more valuable.

18. This manager hires positive attitudes, along with experience and technical expertise.

19. This manager hires people with fast body language who will be comfortable in a growing department.

20. This manager shows both team experience and team spirit. He is comfortable as both a team member and a team captain.

21. This manager does not waste our encounters. He has identified the types and phases of our interactions and figured out how to make each phase memorable.

22. This manager makes every contact count. He never passes up any opportunity to make or reinforce a strong impression.

23. This manager gives me the chance to know him.

24. This manager comes up with good solutions when I share my challenges with her and let him see the problems I am facing.

25. This manager asks the right questions.

26. This manager takes suggestions from his own staff seriously. Within limits I set, he explains why he can't implement a staff- supported solution.

27. This manager asks me to explain what I value and what I don't. He then uses this information to decide where he will put his department's resources.

28. This manager empowers his staffers so they don't have to constantly ask. But along with authority, he gives them accountability.

29. This manager encourages employees to believe in themselves and does everything in her power to publicize their successes.

30. This manager encourages everyone to recognize good work. He puts all staffers in a position to praise the people they work with.

31. This manager asks top executives to give awards, whenever possible.

32. This manager cuts his losses with nonperformers and does not permit them to hurt the morale of the rest of the team.

33. This manager makes people proud of where they work and of doing their best job.

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