Stay on good terms with your manager
Your manager is the person who will recommend you for a promotion, if the opportunity arises. For this reason and for many others, staying on good terms with her is imperative. Put time and effort into the relationship. Try to think from her perspective. What drives her? What is her preferred work style? And more importantly, what can you do to make her job easier? If there’s an important project in the works, for example, don’t hesitate to raise your hand and step up. If you can lighten her workload in a helpful rather than invasive way, you will make yourself more valuable.
But what can you do if, despite your best efforts, your relationship with your manager isn’t working out? One product manager describes his difficult experiences with his former manager.
“My boss and I were actually competing for the attentions of his manager. My boss’s boss had taken a liking to me and had even given me some of the important duties that would normally have been my boss’s domain. There was some rivalry there, even though I didn’t want there to be. I spoke with my boss about improving our relationship. I thought we could meet once a week for a lunch meeting, just the two of us, to sort of mend our working relationship. But he was opposed to all my suggestions-perhaps he felt threatened-and I realized I would probably need to move on.”
As this example indicates, not every relationship can be saved. If you’ve been consistently passed over for promotions, if you’ve been in the same job for a few years despite prospects of upward mobility, if relations between you and your manager are consistently tense or uncomfortable, it may be time to explore other opportunities outside of the company.
However, if you enjoy working for your current company, one option to consider is a lateral move. If you take a job at the same level, but with a manager with whom you’ve forged a good working relationship, your chances of advancement will be much greater.