Building a business relationship or rapport with your boss is extremely important since their input likely affects your bonus, salary adjustments, and promotions. But don't be afraid though, building rapport with your boss can be easier than you might think.
The trick is to do it delicately though since you probably don't want to be labeled as the office suck up. There are a few things that you can do to build a connection with your boss; do good work, play by the rules, and engage the boss in conversation.
These may not guarantee you'll build instant rapport with the boss, and depending on the personality of the person in charge, it may take longer, but the following ideas should at least bring you into a closer working relationship.
The simplest way to build rapport with your boss is to produce high quality work product. Complete all your assignments on time, meet your deadlines, and be a team player in your group/organization.
Your boss will be more willing to listen to you or engage you in conversation if he knows that you're a productive employee adding value to the company, not a slacker.
When the opportunity presents itself, request additional assignments and more responsibility. This will demonstrate your desire to help the company and make the boss look good.
Another easy way to build rapport with your boss is to play by the rules of the office, both the written and unwritten ones. Show up for work on time, don't take excessively long lunch breaks, adhere to the company dress code, in short play by the rules that have been set by the company in the Employee Manual or Company Code of Conduct.
Along with the codified rules, pay attention to the unwritten rules and abide by them as well. Does your team stay late on the last Friday of the every month? Are daily smoke breaks frowned upon? These are common things that may not be laid out in an Employee Manual, but should still be diligently observed and adhered to.
Engaging your boss in pleasant conversation is also a fabulous (and easy) way to build rapport. Find out what subjects they are fond of, what hobbies they regularly participate in, if they have kids, etc.
If they like hiking, football, or a particular college basketball team, do a bit of research on the topic so you can speak intelligibly on it. But please remember not to go overboard and be a fawning sycophant, keep your dignity.
Also choose your moments to speak with the boss about non-work related issues very carefully. You boss is likely a very busy person and doesn't always have time for idle chatter. Read his/her body language and listen for their tone of voice.
If you get the feeling that they want to end the conversation, do so. There's always another brief opportunity down the road, and the last thing you want to be known as is someone who talks incessantly and prevents them from doing their work.
It's easier to create and foster a relationship with your boss if it's common knowledge that you're a positive member of your work team, that you play by the rules of the office, and that you demonstrate knowledge of a few topics that they find interesting.
Being careful in finding the right moment to build rapport also helps. Act on these tips and you may find yourself building rapport in no time at all.