8 Surefire Ways To Impress Your Boss
In our last installment, we looked at several different ways to annoy your boss and conceivably get yourself fired. We now move onto more pleasant and inspirational pursuits with some of the best ways to impress the guy in the big office.
Given the fact that it is far easier to destroy than to create, it is easy to apply such a concept to careers. It is easy to make mistakes that can cost you your job, but you have to be proactive in working at those things that will keep you in the big guy’s good graces.
1. Have the best interests of the company in mind. People who are looking out for themselves only are usually blatantly transparent, and as a result anything they do for others will be viewed as having an ulterior motive. It is far better to genuinely care about the company and the people around you, doing all you can to make sure everybody succeeds.
2. Honesty, still the best policy. When it comes right down to it, all any of us really have to call our own is our integrity. Once that is blown, you’re pretty much toast. Avoid the temptation to lie, embellish, exaggerate, or take credit where it isn’t due. Don’t make excuses for bad judgment or missed appointments; rather admit the mistake, apologize, and then do all you are able to do to make it right. The only thing worse than ill advised actions is taking steps to avoid consequences or shifting blame onto somebody else. Remember, once trust is blown, the basis for any relationship is gone with it.
The first cousin to honesty is speaking one’s mind. If you feel strongly about something, then don’t be afraid to speak up. Just make sure you do so in circumstances that are appropriate and in a manner that will not invite or stir up unnecessary conflict. Of course the best place to do this is probably in a private meeting or e-mail with your boss. No one likes being called out in front of their peers. Request a one on one meeting with your boss, and air your thoughts, suggestions, or concerns in a positive, non-confrontational manner. You may find him to be genuinely appreciative of your efforts, even if he happens to disagree with your conclusions.
3. Walk the line between respect and sucking up. This can be a tough one. I’ve had jobs where I did my best to demonstrate respect for my superiors, only for it to be interpreted as sucking up. Basically, give him the respect his position deserves, but don’t turn him into a minor league deity. He puts his pants on the same way you do, he is human, and he is imperfect. Demonstrate the proper level of respect and you will be surprised at the freedom you may end up enjoying with your superiors.
4. Expect curveballs. We’re all going to get them, those moments where we are thrown out of our comfort zone and into a situation that we aren’t sure how to handle. Keep in mind that many times our boss is far more interested in how we handle the curveballs as opposed to whether or not we actually succeed. If we are willing to step out, take chances, and navigate unfamiliar territory, it puts up a few notches on the respectability ladder. You can increase your value to the company even if the new scenario laid an egg.
5. Help others reach their goals. It has been said that much can be done when it ceases to matter who gets the credit. Don’t be afraid to pitch in and help somebody else accomplish what they need. It moves the company ahead, you’re seen as a team player, and you will end up being that guy that people know they can rely on in a pinch.
6. Always be learning. The first few weeks of my job, I hated one thing…..the weekly staff meeting. Namely because I wasn’t up to speed on how the company worked and I was clueless for much of the time. Now a year later, it feels really good to walk in and not feel like so much of a greenhorn. So be proactive, go out and learn what you don’t know. If a concept is brought up that leaves you scratching your head, write it down and go research it. It will make the breaking in period a little less awkward.
7. Give back more than is requested. This should be a no brainer. Simply meeting goals is good, but it doesn’t give any indication that you are willing to go above and beyond the call. Always try to give back something extra. If information is required, send it, but include some links to other relevant material on the subject. If you are asked to submit a report 20 pages in length, make it 30. Of course you don’t want to use unnecessary fluff, but take the time to find additional material of value and include it. Actions like this really increase your value to your company.
8. Be the best possible you that you can be. Don’t change who you are just to suit your surroundings. In one of my recent evaluations, I was described as “quirky as #%$@”. Not knowing what that means, I asked, and was told that it basically meant I marched to my own beat. I took that as a compliment. Play to your strengths, and know when to back off if you’re in a situation where your weaknesses might come back to bite you.
Now go and impress the guy in the front office.