Having a good relationship with senior management is not simply about having an easier time of things at work. Yes, it helps if you get on with your bosses. However, it's more about being a valued member of the team. Become a contributor whose contributions are not only expected but will be sought after.
Where to start
The way to start building relationships with senior managers is to understand where they are coming from and what their objectives are. Here are the first basic considerations in that process.
• Familiarising yourself with the senior management’s reputation
• Understanding management’s business objectives
• Learning the best way to communicate with them
When to start
The best way to start is right at the beginning. Even before you have been employed. If you have come along as part of a recruitment drive, the interview is the ideal opportunity to start the relationship-building process. It will show whoever is handling the recruitment that you are a serious contender.
The same applies whether you are looking at a permanent role; you are part of a contingent workforce recruitment drive, or a project management position. Building relationships with senior management will always be relevant.
The foundation for building good relationships is trust. This applies to all walks of life, whether in business or in your personal life. The key is communication. It is vital. Merely talking about things is fine in your personal life but it won't suffice in the workplace.
At work, you need to cultivate a communications framework. It should be as comprehensive as you can make it. Bear in mind that the objective is to deliver on the goals that management has set out. Don't be afraid to use progressive ways of communicating as long as your bosses appreciate your originality. Technology is there to be used.
Thinking outside the box
One thing you should never do is to be predictable or to become a yes-man or woman. Choose your ground carefully and offer some ideas that take your bosses slightly out of their comfort zones. It will help to show that you are something of an innovator and that you are prepared to think outside the box.