How to build your relationship with your boss

In Chinese corporate culture, the boss is a very special person. You spend 1/3 of a day with your boss. A good boss knows what motivates us, and even how to hurt us. As always, success in China depends on the success of your relationships, so do your best to develop a good one with your boss.


What are the different types of bosses in China? There are several. But the most interesting one is the Emperor Boss, which is very typical in China. The Emperor Boss needs you to do literally everything for them and expects you to obey all their commands. They might boss you around but they are not hard to please. You just need to take care of all his or her needs to make them satisfied. 

No matter which type of boss you have, all bosses like a hard working and humble employee. Here are some tips and useful phrases for building your relationship with your boss.

Know who you are and show respect.

Hierarchy is respected in Chinese corporate culture, which is also the reason why emperor bosses are common. The subordinate needs to respect the superior. A good way to show respect is to always address your Chinese superiors with the proper titles. The titles are typically placed after the family name. A few examples of corporate titles:

  • Manager: 经理 jīnglǐ
  • Vice manager: 副经理 fù jīnglǐ (can be shortened to 副总fùzǒng)
  • CEO: 总裁 zǒngcái
  • Department head: 总监zǒngjiān

Work hard

Chinese workers and employers respect hard work and frequently work overtime. Even if they've finished the tasks for the day, most people will spend time scheduling new tasks for the following day. No one want to be the first to leave the office. What Chinese bosses love to hear is that you will do what they want and you will start working right after they ask you to do something. The best way to build trust with your boss is by saying, “好,我会的。" (Hǎo, wǒ huì de. Yes, I will.) or ”我马上去做。" (Wǒ mǎshàng qù zuò. I will do it right now.) Use these phrases to gain your boss's trust and strengthen your relationship.

This article is part of our new online Chinese course. An efficient way to learn Chinese language for working and living in China.