I'm working as an intern in a software development role. My supervisor is working on systems or something similar, and is always busy. I never get to really see them. I mainly report my progress using demos/pictures of my work. How do I actually build up a relationship with my supervisor and get on his good side? It feels like we're getting off to a pretty bad start as everytime I try to go see them, they're not there.
The priority is to have ONE meeting with your supervisor to talk about this issue. Make it happen. Offer to meet him at lunch time, to stay a bit later one evening... Insist on the fact that this is really important and will make both of your jobs easier in the future.
During this meeting, you'll want to discuss two topics :
- How to interact with him : tell him you know he's a very busy man, and you'd rather find an efficient way to communicate rather than bothering him at random times. This can be a daily five minutes stand-up meeting, a weekly presentation associated with a progress recap email every evening...
- What to do when you can't interact with him : him being busy doesn't change the fact that you're an intern, and thus need to be closely managed and taught. If he can't do that himself, have him introduce you to the people you can turn to about technical difficulties or whatever.
Anyway, don't forget that as your supervisor he's expected to make time for you. You're not a developer yet, there's a lot you have to learn, and him making efforts to help you improve is beneficial for both of you. Don't feel guilty for requiring attention or see yourself as a burden. Well let's face it, you most likely are a burden at the time. But one he signed up for :)
Basically, you make his life easier.
To extend on that, he has some very intensive work that is consuming his focus. You can build rapport with your boss by alleviating the minor, time consuming tasks that you are capable of handling without being asked (in addition to your normal workload), which saves him time, and as long as it is apparent that this is due to your work (without bragging overtly), then he will like you. This will also very likely lift some of his time burden, which will give him enough time to actually engage you in normal sociable terms.
Ask your supervisor to have lunch with you. Let him/her know you understand they are really busy, but that you would like to get to know them a little better and hear about some of the other projects going on in the company.
What's the worst that can happen with a request like this? Even if it takes a while to get on the calendar, it's hard to imagine anyone too busy for something like this.