Excelling at what you do is the most important step you can take to impress your boss. But there are additional factors that put you in the running. Heed these tips on how to get on your manager’s good side.
Manage up. Anticipate her needs. If traveling stresses her out, offer to keep her abreast of important developments daily. If she has a major presentation coming up, do your homework and find any recent news or research that would be of interest to her. Know what she needs and give it to her before she asks.
Make them look good. Your boss has a boss, too. If he has an important meeting with his manager, volunteer to tackle a couple of the items on his to-do list so he can have more time to prepare.
Active listening. Your boss wants to feel that you’re on the same page. When she’s assigning you a task, repeat what she says in your own words to make sure you’ve understood correctly. Don’t be afraid to ask questions.
Speak up! Your input is valuable. If you disagree with him on an issue, express your thoughts. Your honest feedback and critical thinking will likely be appreciated. But respect his decision—he has the final word.
Own your achievements. Keep a running tab of tasks you’ve done well. Slip into a conversation with your manager an accomplishment that you’re proud of. False modesty won’t get you anywhere.
Keep calm and carry on. Don’t panic when something goes wrong. Stay cool and collected, maintain a positive attitude and offer useful solutions. Poise under pressure is a trait of leadership.
Steer clear of gossip. Even if it’s not about you, your boss won’t like it if you engage in the office drama. You never know—you might be the rumor mill’s next target, and the gossip could get back to her.
Be flexible. It’s important to be able to follow through with a task. But when the unexpected happens, know how to switch gears and improvise. Show your manager that you can think on your feet.
Don’t burn yourself out. If you’re not tending to your own needs, you can’t be your best at work. Pay attention to self-care. If there are skills you want to develop, hire a coach or take classes, the company might even reimburse you.
Here are a few traps to steer clear of.
Your boss wants someone who will take initiative. So don’t second-guess your idea—take a risk and put it forth. Go for it.
If you have more than you can handle, it’s okay to ask for help. Maybe there are some tasks that can be delegated, or perhaps you can telecommute once a week.
A lack of interest
Ask yourself why you’re not more engaged with your work. Maybe you can talk to your manager about trying your hand at a new project. Or would another line of work be more exciting for you?