By Amanda Butkiewicz, Assistant Director, Career Readiness, Career and Professional Development Services
A new experience for many students, whether it’s in their internship experience, a part-time job, or their first full-time position, is working with a supervisor. Your relationship with your supervisor can define your work experience and what you get out of it, so it’s important that you make sure it’s a positive relationship. Here are some strategies to help develop a positive relationship.
Oftentimes, you will have one-on-one meetings with your supervisor to report progress and discuss what you are working on. Do not rely on your supervisor to drive that meeting; you should be ready with a list or agenda to cover. Your supervisor may have things to discuss, but be ready for them to ask you what you need to talk about. To show that you are prepared, write out a list of questions and items that you want your supervisor to be aware of.
Complete Assigned Tasks
Show that you are respectful of your supervisor’s job and time by working as hard as you can to complete your tasks on time and correctly. Don’t let the fear of making a mistake hold you back from tackling a challenging task or making a decision. Once you are fully executing your assigned responsibilities successfully, this can show your supervisor that you are ready for more advanced tasks and professional development.
No one performs their job perfectly every single day. If you make a mistake or forget to do something, address the situation with your supervisor and take responsibility. Do not wait for your supervisor to find out about the mistake from someone else, as your supervisor can help you decide the best way to move forward from your mistake. When given feedback from your supervisor, do not take it personally. Feedback is important for you to receive so that you can improve and develop your professionalism.
Additionally, if you are confused about something, speak up! Repeat what you understand of your expectations of the project or work to your supervisor and then ask questions about the parts that confuse you. This helps your supervisor understand where they need to communicate more clearly and shows that you care about the work you are doing.
Take the Initiative
The best employees are those who understand their role, know their direction, and execute fully without having their supervisor tell them every step to take. This means that they don’t wait to be told what to do or given permission to do their job, they just do it. It’s important to clarify expectations with your supervisor and know what your boundaries are, but once you understand what part your position plays in your organization, make sure to take initiative and seize opportunities that you know your supervisor would want you to.
All supervisors are different, so sometimes you have to adjust how you typically work or report to match your supervisor’s style. Showing that you care and work hard can go a long way in establishing a strong working relationship with your supervisor.