At work, it’s good for someone to have your back. If you want a raise, feel overburdened, need a hand with a troublesome coworker or aren’t getting credit, it helps to have someone on your side. If that someone is your boss, even better.
It can take a while to nurture this support. However, demonstrate that you’re an outstanding employee, and your boss is likely to honor reasonable requests. You’ll be too good to lose.
There is one thing to take into consideration, though: Even good bosses aren’t always aware of everything going on around them. If there’s a problem, don’t wait for your boss to come to you and offer assistance. Take action. It’s a two-for-one deal. You keep your boss in the loop and get some meaningful support.
Give and Take
It’s human nature for there to be give and take in situations and relationships, and your boss will be more likely to support you if you’re supportive. Find ways to do your job that specifically helps your boss. Know their goals and help advance those goals.
For instance, if workplace safety is a big concern, keep your eye open for problems. Report any issue to your boss, preferably after you’ve handled it.
Know your boss’s weaknesses, and pick up the slack. Maybe your boss always forgets to email reminders about meetings. Offer to do it. The task won’t take long, and your boss will appreciate — and remember — the assistance.
Be All You Can Be
Do your best at work every day, and stand out in a positive way. Your boss will notice. If there are no grounds for complaint, earning support is a lot easier. A model employee:
- Undertakes demanding tasks other people don’t want. Bosses recognize when workers go the extra mile. Just don’t volunteer if you’re already swamped. Missing a deadline never makes a good impression.
- Takes responsibility. If something goes wrong, don’t look for a scapegoat. Admit your mistake and explain how you’ll fix it. Don’t make excuses. Your boss doesn’t care why you missed the deadline. Results are what matter. If a blunder isn’t your fault, don’t throw someone under the bus. Helping correct the error shows you’re a team player.
- Looks for ways to grow and improve. Don’t wait for your boss to tell you what new software, technique, or procedure you should learn. Be aware of advancements in your field. Seek situations where you can learn and develop.
Be a Team Player
Bosses know when there’s tension. Be professional toward all employees, even if you think they’re incompetent. Develop a reputation for being good at interpersonal interactions. If you do run into a problem with someone, your boss is likely to take your side.
Show an interest in your boss as a person. They are a person, you know. Don’t pry, but be open to discussions about outside interests, family, charities, activities, or hobbies. Ask questions, listen, and try to relate. You’ll get more support in the future if you already have a connection.
Sometimes a concern is so pressing you must be blunt. Ask for what you need. Hopefully you’ve been a tip-top employee, so your boss won’t hesitate to step in. Part of your boss’s job is managing the workplace. If something needs fixing, your boss needs to handle it — but they can only address issues they know about.
Explain the problem without complaining — your boss doesn’t want to get caught up in drama. Propose a logical solution, and you’ll be more likely to get the resolution you want. If your boss doesn’t have to develop a plan of action, they can quickly settle the issue and move on. No one enjoys dealing with complications — not even your boss.
Select a Strategy
When you want help, choose an approach that is more likely to work based on what you know about your boss. What pressure are they currently under? For instance, if you know your boss is getting slammed for being over budget, it’s probably the wrong time to ask for a raise.
What’s the best format to use when asking for assistance? Does your boss like it when employees knock on the door for a quick word, or is it better to make an appointment? Would they prefer a request in writing? Would data help? Present your case in the way that’s most likely to get results, even if it’s not the way you’d prefer.
You and your boss want the same thing: a well-functioning workplace. If there’s a snag, your boss will be on your team if you’ve been a productive and accommodating employee. It’s much easier to get support when others think you deserve it.