One of the secrets to a successful career is being able to cooperate with a variety of people, and one of the most important relationships you will have in the workplace is the one with your boss. Having clear definition of responsibilities and open lines of communication with your supervisor can be the difference in having a rewarding place of work, or waking up dreading to go to your office every morning. 


In the Masters of Engineering with a concentration in Information Engineering Management (IEM) at UAB, we work to help our students not only move from engineer to manager in their careers, but build rapport that allows for an honest, open transfer of lessons and skills between professors and students. Although students are in our program for roughly two years, in those few months we build relationships that will have a much bigger picture in the long run. 

As I've seen alumni successfully finish our program, I've also been able to be the person to speak highly of them both professionally and personally in recommendations, invite them to come back to speak or even instruct other IEM courses, and have even made several acquaintances through what began as a professor-student relationship. 

Just like it takes time and work to get to know each other in IEM, it also take time to develop a comfortable connection with your boss, and these connections will be different with different bosses. However, your ability to cooperate, communicate, and work with your supervisor can make quite a difference in your future career path. Here are three tips to better establish cooperation and clarity with your superiors in the workplace:

  1. Decide on a Regular Meeting Time
    One of the most important aspects of having a working and cooperative boss-employee relationship is to reduce any uncertainty by having interactive and open communication. Schedule a regular meeting on your agendas to allow for a known time to discuss upcoming projects, current and past wins, areas for improvement, or professional development. 

    Whether you meet once a week or once a month, having a designated time to openly share ideas and information will give you both a time in your busy schedules to come back to remind you what you're working on and why you're doing it. Respecting this time is also a great way to show your boss you're on task and committed to your company and the work you are collectively producing. 

  2. Demonstrate Initiative
    Just as your boss works to support you, it's also important to make sure you are supporting the work your boss and your team is completing. Do you have ideas of processes to make your team's work more efficient or streamlined? Is your boss working on a project that you're interested in pitching in to complete? Is there a committee or team at work that you would like to contribute to? Do you have ideas or prior experiences that could help the business grow?

    Don't be afraid to speak up and share these with your boss and senior management. While you don't have to be a part of the management to come up with new and inventive ideas — your boss and the management of your company will recognize your work when it makes a difference. 

  3. Don't Take it Personally
    Your work is also a reflection of your supervisor's work, therefore a good boss will have vested interest in both your daily work and professional development. If and when your boss gives a critique of your work, see it as an opportunity for improvement and their investment in wanting to see you grow and improve. 

    Oftentimes employees will take criticism as a personal attack that breeds resentment rather than constructive remarks that are meant to encourage. People pay for feedback to help them professionally, so take your bosses remarks lightly and openly, remembering that it's just an effort to help you improve. However, if you do feel like your boss has become overly critical, remember your open line of communication and plan to bring it up in a scheduled meeting. This conversation will help you find ways to actually make improvements, help you and your boss understand each others communication styles, or help you make other further changes to be more content in your own place of work. 

Engineer to Manager

At IEM, we give you practical knowledge to make the most of your current position, while also preparing you to work your way into a leadership position. Our goal is to teach you how to expand your technical expertise into the leadership skills you need to manage teams, inspire innovation, and coordinate large amounts of data to make effective decisions. By learning these skills as an engineer you'll be better able to view your company from an executive level and also know the steps to take to bring innovation to your business.

If you're interested in learning more about IEM, use the form on this page to schedule a time to talk or email us at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.. Let us help you lead your way to a technical or engineering management career.

About IEM

The Master of Engineering with a concentration in Information Engineering Management (IEM) at the University of Alabama at Birmingham (UAB) is a specialized concentration designed primarily for engineers and people in technical positions. The concentration presents business systems and soft skills in a curriculum that is based on actual engineering industry needs and is offered completely online.