Success in the workplace is all about relationships, and no relationship is more critical than the one you have with your boss.
Being able to do your work well is important, but the most successful people are the ones who work well with others, including your boss. This doesn’t mean being friends with your boss, but you definitely need them to feel respected. Having a boss who thinks you’re competent and capable is important to workplace ability, advancement and your overall job fulfillment.
A boss who dislikes you can make your life hell, while life in the sunshine of your boss good graces usually means getting the first chance at challenging projects and more guidance and mentoring on your learning curve mess-ups.
So how do you get impress your boss?
Looking sharp makes an impression, so bring a few grooming tools to work. What to bring is going to vary based on your job status and your grooming needs, so be honest with yourself about your grooming. For instance, if you often make key presentations at the end of the day and your stubble grows quickly, keep an electric razor in your desk to fight off any five-o’clock shadow. A few solid bets are to keep a small deodorant stick, which provides effective protection in stressful situations and which will keep you three times drier* — something to clean crud from under your fingernails and a toothbrush or tin of breath mints. A grooming touch-up isn’t going to take 30 minutes (it probably won’t even take 5), but the benefits can make a big difference in how you’re perceived. Wear well ironed, crumple free clothing and a pair of well-polished , sober pair of shoes on your feet.
Look around, review competitors, understand the numbers, keep your eyes, ears, nose and feet active to catch signals and trends that would impact your company, or your product or systems that may improve delivery of your service. Be customer centric, think like one, behave like one..and see if you would tolerate similar treatment or action that’s it, your being sharp and coming up with actionable ideas, that bring improvements will definitely catch the eye . Think out of the box but practical, too.
DROP SOME STATSIf there’s one thing the business world loves, it’s data. While ideas and opinions have their place, nothing trumps cold, hard numbers. If you want to impress your boss, know the numbers. Which numbers you should know is going to depend on your job, so take 30 minutes to learn what’s important. After that, make sure you have your eye on the ball — knowing your key stats is a great measure of how you and your team are performing, and being able to present these numbers when asked is going to send a message to others that you’re on top of things.
KEEP YOUR BOSS IN THE LOOP
Whatever commitments you have, follow up. Giving your boss status updates keeps them in the loop, and updating them on your work is going or the project that is assigned to you is a whole lot different and that you need advice or direction: bosses love this stuff, if its once in a while. He’s responsible for the work coming out of your area, so being up to date keeps him looking good and feeling confident. How often should you give him status reports? More often than he asks for it, “probably”. If your boss is coming to you for updates, he probably wants more updates than you’ve been giving. Everyone’s different and you’ll need to get a sense of what your boss needs from you, but do keep him informed.
Yes, you can disagree with your boss, and in fact you should from time to time. Whether he has some of the information wrong, or you just have a different view of things, there’s no reason you can’t respectfully disagree. In fact, your boss will respect you more for it — you’re making your opinion known rather than being a “yes man.” There’s an old saying, “If we always agree, one of us is unnecessary.” There’s nothing wrong with a little healthy debate as long as you’re professional and respectful. One caveat: If you disagree, make your case respectfully, and if he still doesn’t change his mind, let it go. Once the decision is made, you are absolutely supposed to follow your boss’ decision, even if you don’t agree.
KEEP YOUR PROMISES AND DELIVER
We’ve talked before about being known as a go-to guy, and this is how you get there. If you want to be known as reliable, you need to be rock-solid about following through on the things you said you would follow through on. Have a system for tracking everything you need to do — it can be pen & paper or computer-based, but capture all your work in a system you trust. If you forget things and others (especially your boss) have to remind you constantly about work they need from you, it sends a clear message that you don’t have your act together. So keep your promises, and go above and beyond whenever possible. Promised you’d hand in the project on Wednesday? Hand it in on Tuesday if it’s ready.
BE NEWS WORTHY
We’re not talking about the cake that HR’s having delivered to the hub on your boss’ birthday. Work-related surprises are something you want to avoid at all costs. Be the first to deliver news to your boss, whether it’s good or bad – especially if it’s bad. When your boss hears info second-hand, he will conclude that you either tried to hide things from them, or that you’re a poor judge of what’s important and worth sharing. If you have something worthy of the boss’ time and attention, be the one to bring it to him.
ACT LIKE YOUR BOSS
Copy your boss’ communication style, I MEAN ,learn it . Does he prefer email, voicemail or face-to-face briefings? Plain talk or overly complicated business-speak? Sports metaphors or hard numbers? By echoing the way your boss communicates, he’ll be more able to understand your message. Spend 30 minutes reviewing last week’s communications from your boss and get a sense for what he prefers.
We know, you’ve heard this advice 100 times before. But while it may not be sexy, cutting-edge advice, there’s a reason this is recommended so often: it works. Being early gives people a favorable impression of you. And face it, running late creates an unfavorable impression. Of course, things happen, and any good boss or executive is going to understand if it happens once or twice, but it’s still not professional behavior and it’s generally something you want to avoid. Leaving the house 30 minutes early ensures you’re not late even if traffic sucks, and it gives you a jump-start on your work before the office fills up with people and distractions.
PUT SOME BOOKS ON YOUR SHELF
Having some reading material in your workspace is not a bad thing. It shows you’re invested in improving yourself, and a constantly improving employee is a very good thing for the company. Adding some books to your shelves is the start of a work-related reading collection, and having some reports or trade magazines on hand also shows you’re concerned with your industry as a whole. And while it should be obvious, a few words of warning: stick to professional reading material (not Sports OR Bollywood mags ), and while most bosses won’t mind catching you flipping through a useful book once in a while, you’re being paid to work, not to read. Reading is what the boss expects you to do before and after work, or on days off its important and after you read remember to discuss what you read ?
Nothing wrong with being fit, right? Right! So, take it one step further: There’s no shame in coming into the office with your gym bag on your shoulder. As long as you’re showered and ready for work, go for it. Everyone approves of personal fitness: even if they don’t work out themselves, they’ll be proud of your decision to do so. Showing that you worked out that morning, or that you plan to go at lunch or straight from work, also shows that you take pride in yourself, you make smart choices and you can set goals and stick to them even when they’re hard. And that’s exactly the sort of message you want to send to your boss.