As always said, every organization is a system based on processes and structures which lives thanks to the energy and inner strength of employees and their social networks.
Among the various relationships that you build at work the most important is probably the one with you manager. This relationship is based on three main dimensions: technical, political and emotional. The first one is linked to the technical dependency between the role that you cover and your manager’s responsibilities. Specifically, your manager is responsible for your team delivery which is also based on your delivery and your performances. The political dimension is the sum of strategy and positioning that allows you branding yourself with your manager, your team and other stakeholders. In other words, it is based on how you behave into your work context. The final one, it is the emotional link (called it if you prefer empathy) that you are able (or not) to create with your manager.
For many, the latter is the most important dimension; I totally agree that is very important, but not the most important. Who says that having a good relationship with your boss is going to set aside performances issues… well, that’s wrong. While positioning yourself with this mindset , you are embracing a short term strategy for being successful. For example, working on this dimension allows you to control and diminish the psychological pressure related to a mistake; but, the long term goals (personal and team ones) are related to performances and goals achieved that are not assured only with a good emotional or empathic connection with your manager. Your manager is not the only stakeholder that you have. Therefore, you should to maintain the right balance between the 3 dimensions mentioned above.
Then, it is very important to say that you should be able to disagree with your manager. The organizational growth and maturity is also the result of a dynamic shifts and sensemaking related to what is happening; so, what happens to you has an impact on the organization itself. For the fact that organizations are people, your personal growth is clearly related to organization one and the other way round. This does not mean that there must be a continuous battle with your manager, but a mature discussion and evaluation of what’s going on.