Instead of faking it, coming to terms with the actual equation you share with your boss may help you perform better, a study shows.
Workers are more motivated if they and their supervisors see eye-to-eye about a bad relationship than if they have different views about their relationship, the findings showed.
"Seeing eye-to-eye about the employee-supervisor relationship is equally if not more important than the actual quality of the relationship," said Fadel Matta, lead investigator and management researcher at the Michigan State University in the US.
Past research suggests workers and their bosses often have differing views about the quality of their relationship.
The new study involving 280 employees and their bosses showed that motivation suffered when an employee believed he or she had a good relationship with the boss but the boss saw it differently.
The finding also held true even when the boss believed the relationship was good but the subordinate did not.
The two were surveyed separately, meaning the boss did not necessarily know how the employee felt about him or her, and vice versa.
Interestingly, employee motivation was higher - and the employee was more apt to go above and beyond his or her basic job duties - when the worker and supervisor saw eye-to-eye about the relationship, even when it was poor.
The study examined a wide range of employees - from cashiers to senior managers - in a host of industries, including automotive, retail and financial services.
The findings were published in the Academy of Management Journal.