Tips for Building Rapport with Your Manager

Image of four nurses talking to each other while walking

When you first went to work as an RT, probably the last thing on your mind was building rapport with your manager. At that point in your career, you were just trying to figure out how things were done in your new department and deliver the best possible care to your patients.

But if you’ve been around for a while, you have likely begun to notice that some members of your RT team seem to have a more collegial relationship with the top leadership in the department than others.

These are the folks who are consulted when it’s time to purchase new equipment. The ones who get asked to sit on departmental or even hospital-wide committees. The people picked to lead the discussion during rounds or in continuing education sessions. And more often than not, when promotions are available, they are the ones who get them.

How can you build the kind of rapport with your managers that these folks already seem to have? Here are five tips you can use to make it happen —

  1. Actions speak louder than words: First and foremost, realize that building a better rapport with your managers will never happen if you are not actively working to be the best RT you can be. Be on time for your shifts, be kind and courteous to your coworkers inside and outside of respiratory care, go the extra mile for your patients, and build positive connections with them and their families in a way they will remember. All of this will attract the attention of your superiors because when you look good, they look good.
  2. Take the initiative: Every RT department has a host of things that need to be done, but not enough people to do them. When you see something that could use doing or improving, ask your manager if you could take on the task. Start with simple things, like rearranging the supply room, reorganizing the shelf of continuing education resources, or even cleaning out the refrigerator in the break room. Your manager will take notice and see you as someone they can turn to when they need help.
  3. Got an idea? Share it: If you are like most therapists, you are adept at thinking outside of the box. When a good idea occurs to you that would improve patient care or help things run more smoothly in the department, tell your direct supervisor about it and ask them what they think. If you get a positive response, volunteer to help your department implement your idea.
  4. Practice your communication skills with everyone you meet: You certainly want to communicate well with your managers, but you also want to get a reputation for communicating well with everyone else. So make sure you put your best foot forward no matter who you are speaking with at work — everyone from the hospital CEO on down will be impressed by an RT with good communication skills.
  5. Look for common ground: Lastly, take every opportunity that comes along to learn more about your managers on a professional and personal basis. For example, check out their AARConnect or LinkedIn profile to find out where they went to RT school and where they’ve worked before. Maybe you went to the same school or worked at the same place in the past. Pay attention to casual conversations around you in the department to learn more about their hobbies and interests. Maybe you are both huge sports fans, love to cook, or have another common interest you can bond over. Sometimes finding even little things you have in common can make a big difference in your ability to make a connection with the people who hold your career in their hands.

Building rapport with your managers isn’t something that will happen overnight, but if you put these tips into action, you will soon find that your blip on your manager’s radar screen has grown in stature.

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