How to develop relationship with seniors?

building relationships
New answer on Jan 10, 2021
5 Answers
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Anonymous A asked on Jan 08, 2021

I work in Asia, where the culture is more about "respecting seniors" and "obeying what the seniors said". Growing up in this environment, I am still used to being polite, respectful, and acting formal with seniors. However, it seems that the western culture courages "individual thinking" and a "flat organization". I am thinking of how to deepen my relationship with my boss, and adding a bit of personal angle. I feel that I am too "serious" when talking to my boss. Any suggestion would be great!

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Adi
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replied on Jan 08, 2021
Accenture, Deloitte | Precision Case Prep | Experienced Interviewer & Career Coach | 15 years professional experience

Hey,

So if I get it right, you currently work in Asia and are looking to improve relationship with your boss who is not from the west?

Few tips that could work for above scenario:

  1. Dont apply western approach here, it will flop. Good to be aware but respect the norms. Use tips & tricks wisely
  2. Remove the self created pressure of proving yourself everytime you are with your boss. Just try and be yourself more & more with every interaction you have with the boss. With time this will improve
  3. Be visible to him, dont hide. Show the boss that you are in the middle of all the action
  4. Understand boss's expectations and aspirations; talk to people you can trust who will share this with you and see how you can help the boss be successful
  5. Ask for coaching/advice from boss, people are always happy to provide free advice in abundance and become softer in the process :)
  6. Try and get other colleagues talk about your good work with your boss; you may want to ask for some favours but ideally word about your good performance should come unsolicited
  7. If possible and appropriate, go for a coffee and talk about non work things- sports, family, travel etc. FInd something common and build on it with every interaction. Just like you do with friends

If nothing works, change the boss or company. Dont suffer this. Its just not worth being around uninspiring people.

Good Luck!

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Anonymous replied on Jan 10, 2021

Hi,

As a fellow Asian, I can understand this cultural phenomenon. A few tips I can share:

  • Try to have an outside office interaction with your boss (e.g. lunch, dinner) to have non office related conversation
  • Have a regular catch up session with your boss on professional related conversation but not specific to a task / project - e.g. asking for feedbacks, how to improve working processes
  • Probably once an a while invite him along with your team to some of your family events - e.g. birthday

Of course these are the things that works in Indonesia but the point is to have more frequent 1-on1 interaction with your boss in professional / non-professional setting.

Best,
Iman

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Antonello
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replied on Jan 10, 2021
McKinsey | MBA professor for consulting interviews

Hi,

That's a great question and a very complex skill to acquire.

I tend to agree with the other coaches. Having regular feedback questions, going out for lunch/dinner sometimes could really help you bond with seniors. It's not easy but it's worth a try.

All the best,

Antonello

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Clara
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replied on Jan 09, 2021
McKinsey | Awarded professor at Master in Management @ IE | MBA at MIT |+180 students coached | Integrated FIT Guide aut

Hello!

I would suggest to try to connect with him/her outside the office.

We used to do a lot of team events (e.g., from meals in good places to sport and adventure activities together), that would help us get closer to each other. That plants the seed that then grows, even in professional set-ups.

Hope it helps!

Cheers,

Clara

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Gaurav
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updated an answer on Jan 08, 2021
Ex-Mckinsey|Certified Career Coach |Placed 500+ candidates at MBB & other consultancies

Hi there,

Thank you for an interesting question!

First thing that popped into my mind was to be more open about cultural differences between you and your boss. These differences still gonna be there, why not making a good use of them? Just bring them up en passant, like a joke or a comment, it can be a good starting point to develop a relationship.

I think there is a great potential to learn from each other, or at least about each other.

Hope it was helpful, I also recommend you to read this article:

https://hbr.org/2013/12/how-to-argue-across-cultures

Cheers,

GB

(edited)

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Adi gave the best answer

Adi

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Accenture, Deloitte | Precision Case Prep | Experienced Interviewer & Career Coach | 15 years professional experience
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