I have heard about it so many times. At job interviews, in late-night evenings among friends after a couple glasses of wine, in a company’s social chats, or in phone conversations when someone has been in a need of encouragement or just someone to talk to. Yes, it’s about one’s boss.
The relationship with your boss is crucial, because it has a very strong effect on how you feel about your work, and thereby on your life! It affects your possibilities at work, or how you can take care your duties, or what is your mandate to develop your work, or how easily you recover mentally from work in your free time. It has to do with the question of what your next career move may be, or what resources are invested in you.
So, if the relationship with your boss is professionally rewarding, filled with mutual respect, and creates a sense of psychological safety and trust – consider yourself lucky! Someone is on your side, and not only on sunny days.
However, it is not only about your boss! Or your boss’s skills, performance and willingness to learn and make corrections in their personal behaviour and way to lead. There are two other important factors: company culture, and yourself.
Yes, we need to pay attention on creating a positive and forward-looking culture that supports wellbeing at work. This requires a company structure that enables this, and generates concrete actions to make it alive. When the boss is surrounded by this kind of culture, it’s easier to relax and focus on leading. The toolkit to lead accordingly is available (leadership system, processes) and there is support at hand in the short run (e.g. vital HR business partnership) and in the long run (leadership programmes).
So, what have you done lately to support you boss? If the company culture supports you properly, you probably do not even need to think about it. If not, and if the boss does not show any openness for transformation, it may only be a waste of your time and effort. However, are you sure that your preconceptions about your boss are valid today?
Naturally, the best option is that the relationship between you two is very good and the company culture supports wellbeing. This is what we have been aiming to achieve and maintain at Kiilto. Anyway, the second-best alternative is that despite a lack of favourable company culture, your relationship is able to flourish. And, maybe you two could even start improving the company culture by taking the first small steps?
I will never forget that lunch with my boss about 10 years ago, when I felt myself not as a top leader at all, and was very exhausted by struggling with the company’s macho working culture. It was right before my vacation, and I told honestly about my feelings. You can just imagine how much the words of my boss meant to me both during the vacation and after it, when I returned to work, when he said: “From this day on, you can count on me. Let’s go forward side by side”.
Article by Antti Uski, HR Director at Kiilto