This is how to become your boss's favorite
Want to get ahead at work? Cozy up to the person who signs off on your raises.
Want to get ahead at work? Cozy up to the person who signs off on your raises. Well, maybe it’s not that simple (nor should you be that obvious), but it can never hurt to try and stay on your boss’s good side.
“Your relationship with your manager is the most important relationship you have at your job,” says Donald Asher, career consultant and author of Who Gets Promoted, Who Doesn't, and Why.
When your boss is consistently happy with your work, he or she will go above and beyond to help you learn new skills, take on leadership roles, and even nab a big pay bump or promotion, says Jessica Smith, a millennial career coach and host of the podcast Career Coaching with Jessness.
Of course, no one likes a brown-noser But there are ways to consistently make your boss happy without becoming an obnoxious sychophant.
Boss move #1: Make your manager’s job easier
One way to help your boss is by offering to take work off her plate.
“If you want to be a superstar, figure out what your boss doesn’t like to do and offer to get that work done yourself,” says Asher.
For example, if your manager needs to make a presentation to executives but hates using PowerPoint, offer to create it for her.
But be careful in terms of framing your offer. Asher recommends focusing on your boss’ needs (“I know you have a lot on your plate right now…”) instead of focusing on your own. (“I’d love to gain new skills. Could you use some help?”)
Boss move #2: Be reliable
This sounds obvious, but a lot of people still have trouble meeting deadlines, arriving to work on time, and even proofreading their work. (Spell check, people!)
That may explain why 97% of HR professionals recently surveyed said that dependability and reliability are very or extremely important qualities when determining whether an applicant has the necessary qualifications to be hired into an entry-level position.
“Bosses are thirsty for people who provide assurances of certainty,” says Bruce Tulgan, author of It's Okay to Manage Your Boss: The Step-by-Step Program for Making the Best of Your Most Important Relationship at Work.
“Managers want to hear things like, ‘That report will be on your desk tomorrow at 9 a.m.’ and then see you deliver.”
In other words, when you say you’re going to do something, do it. It’ll set a precedent for the future and help you stay in your boss’ good graces.
Boss move #3: Create an open line of communication
Top performers actively solicit feedback from their boss. “Having an ongoing, structured dialogue with your manager enables you to clarify expectations on specific tasks, projects, and problems, and then consistently exceed those expectations,” Tulgan says.
Unless your boss is a micromanager, it’s going to be your responsibility to keep her up to date on your work, Smith says.
One way to do that is through weekly progress reports. To determine the best method of communication, simply ask your boss. Say something like, “I can give you a weekly report via email or we can have a conversation in person – whichever you prefer.”
Boss move #4: Share praise at team meetings
Part of being a star employee is being a team player.
Tulgan says people can demonstrate they work well with their peers by celebrating their co-workers’ successes at department meetings.
You could say something like, “I want everyone to know that John did an excellent job helping me with a pitch last week. I could not have landed our new client without him.”
Bringing that kind of positive energy to team meetings will also make your boss appreciate your contribution to group morale.
“You need to always have a great attitude if you want your boss—and your team—to like working with you,” says Tulgan.
Boss move #5: Get to know your boss’ lifestyle
Managers today—especially millennials and Gen Xers—tend to share more about their personal lives with their subordinates than in the past, which gives direct reports another opportunity to build rapport.
If you have shared interests or hobbies, those topics are good conversation starters. “Did you catch last night’s Lakers game?” is an easy ask (unless you’re a Clippers fan).
But if you don’t have common ground, you can stick to questions about your boss’ family. For instance, “How was your daughter’s play last weekend?”. He or she will appreciate your interest and probably enjoy the opportunity to share or brag.
Make your move
Developing a strong relationship with your boss is a crucial element of work and career success. Not only does it make the day-to-day more productive and enjoyable, but it also lays the foundation for a long-term professional relationship.
You never know if you’ll need a reference from her for another job, grad school, or even the Rotary Club someday.
But if you’ve got a toxic boss or one who’ll never make you her favorite, it’s a good idea to keep your options open. Join Monster to get job alerts sent to you as soon as they get posted, so you can find a boss who better matches your style.