Interacting with your boss can be intimidating for sure—especially if she’s more Wicked Witch than Glinda. But all too often, we let a scary boss scare us more than necessary, simply because we don’t approach them correctly. For starters, it’s best to stop thinking about your boss in the principal model—i.e., you’re the student, she’s the principal, and you’re only in her office if you mess up. Second tactic: Strip the hierarchy of some of the perceived power at the top. You can never have a bad discussion with a boss if you start with the exact same premise—that you’re both out to help customers and clients, and you both want to make your work a success. That way, there’s common ground from the start, and fewer miscommunications as problems arise.

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