There’s so much to think about when starting an apprenticeship but top of your list should be forming a bond with your boss. As the master of your fate, it pays to have a good relationship with them. Follow our top tips for a match made in heaven.
Trust in transparency
It can be tempting when you’re learning on the job to hide your mistakes in an attempt to curry favour and not appear foolish in front of your manager, but this will do you no good in the long run. You won’t be the first apprentice or young person they have worked with and they won’t be expecting perfection in every new task you perform. Far from it! Trust is vital in a working relationship and your boss would rather work with someone who can recognise their weaknesses and work on them than a little fibber.
The person you are working for will have wide-ranging responsibilities and an accordingly long list of headaches. They want to manage people who are keen to provide solutions rather than passively waiting to be given tasks. Try to identify things that are giving them strife and see if there’s something you can do to lighten that load. It could be something incredibly simple that needs doing, but if you can identify a need and fulfil it, you will soon find yourself on their Christmas card list.
Don’t promise what you can’t deliver
It’s great to be keen and volunteer for extra jobs, but make sure you don’t overstretch yourself. If taking on an extra task will greatly affect the quality of your existing work or mean that something simply doesn’t get done, your boss may soon forget how grateful they were for your enthusiasm. By taking some time to organise your days and analyse your time management, you’ll be in a position to know what you can handle.
Gauge the autonomy balance
This is a tricky one and something that will take a little time to get right. Some employers will want to micromanage, while others will prefer to let you learn from your mistakes – within reason. A crucial part of your relationship will be adapting to their management style and making it translate into success for both of you. A laissez faire leader will be irked by constant questions, while a more controlling person will want to be consulted at every turn. Learn which category your boss falls into and go with the flow.
Do a little digging
By asking a few well-placed questions and learning more about your boss, you can start to build a personal relationship to complement the professional one. If you’re struggling to find common ground, it might pay to develop a passing interest in something they enjoy. This doesn’t have to be an onerous task; there are shortcuts. If your superior happens to be a Stephen Hawking fan it doesn’t mean you have to become an expert in theoretical physics, just watch The Theory of Everything. You’ll be chatting away in no time…