Q. How do I improve my professional relationship with my boss?

A. Congratulations for asking such an important question, which shows that you’re already on the road to internship success. If you feel that your boss doesn’t give you enough time or that your relationship is floundering, please don’t take it personally. Your boss may be overwhelmed with work and under lots of pressure to produce from his/her boss. Here are a few tips to improve your professional relationship with your boss:

  1. Make sure that you perform your assignments quickly and accurately. Then, ask your boss what you can do to help him/her. Working together on a project is a good way to improve your professional relationship.
  2. Demonstrate that you’re a professional by getting to work early, staying late, and working weekends if the boss needs extra help. The best way to establish a professional relationship is to be a professional yourself.
  3. Earn the respect of your boss by dressing professionally, limiting casual conversation in the office, and presenting new ideas on how you can improve your assignments.
  4. Ask your boss if you can attend some meetings with him/her either at the company or at a professional organization. Show your sincere interest in the relevant field and your enthusiasm at learning more, ensuring that your boss will react in a positive manner.
  5. Thank your boss for all the help that you receive at your internship and compliment him/her on being such a great role model for you. By the time your internship is over, your boss will consider you a professional partner.
Explore posts in the same categories: Q & A with the Intern Coach, Relating to boss

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2 Comments on “Q. How do I improve my professional relationship with my boss?”

  1. Muntaha Uddin Says:

    This information was very helpful as I am experiencing this with my boss right now. My main difficulty in understanding the article comes with advice number two. I am an unpaid intern and I feel my relationship with my boss is going down the drain because I am expected to do too much. It is difficult for me to stay late or work extra days because of the commute, etc. As an unpaid intern I find it unfair for my boss to demand so much. I partly feel that this may be the greater underlying issue of the increasingly poor relationship with my boss. Do I have a wrong outlook? And should I be more self sacrificing? Any help would be greatly appreciated.

    • interncoach Says:

      That sounds like a difficult internship situation! It is hard to power through a tough time at work especially if you’re feeling a financial pinch. But what you have to tell yourself is that unpaid internships offer a ton of other benefits that will extend far into your career. Remember, the hard work is not about sacrificing yourself; rather it’s about learning everything you can from your internship in order to have a huge jump start on your career.

      That being said, it also sounds like you need to sit down with your boss and explain how you are feeling about the work load and internship expectations. Ask your boss if he/she has a few minutes for a meeting to review the goals of your internship. Make sure to write an agenda and send it to your boss before the meeting so he/she is prepared. And, include on that agenda, the workload issue. This should start an honest conversation about what you are able to handle in the time allotted.

      My last piece of advice would be to stay away from labeling the situation as unfair or too difficult to manage. Just remember there are benefits that come with all internships, even unpaid. This doesn’t mean you have to be miserable, but it does mean that one day you will be glad you found a solution that worked for both you and the company.

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