Just staying off the boss’ radar probably isn’t going to be enough if you want to progress in your career. There is also the problem that if the manager gets a puzzled look when your name is mentioned, your lack of impact is going to make you an obvious candidate if there is a need to let someone go in the office. Impressing your boss isn’t just about trying to get ahead, it is also about protecting your current position.
If you feel a bit uneasy at the prospect of trying to ‘suck up to the boss’, it may be because you are mistaken as to what it actually involves. We are not talking here about stuff like insincere compliments or grovelling to management – most bosses are going to see right through such manipulative behavior, and it can actually harm your reputation. If you want to effectively impress your boss, it is simply about being good at what you do.
It is important to keep in mind that doing the stuff that is going to impress the bosses can also make your life easier as well. Making a bit of an effort can reignite your passion for your career, and it can mean you develop a real sense of professional pride. It also means your love for your work increases, and it can feel like you are being paid to enjoy yourself.
It is often the simple actions that are going to be most effective when it comes to putting you in a favorable light with management. If you manage to accomplish something major at work, it is going to put you briefly in the spotlight, but the reality is people forget. The small actions you take on a regular basics can ultimately have a bigger impact on how you are viewed by management than your milestone achievements – especially if your general performance at work is a bit unremarkable.
Show That You Know The Industry
The fact that you keep up-to-date with the latest developments in your industry is going to be impressive for a number of reasons. It demonstrates that you have a passion for what you do, and it also means that you can be a valuable member of the team. You don’t want to use this knowledge in a way that is going to make your boss look bad, but you can offer it in a more constructive way – you may even earn some extra reputation credits by photocopying interesting articles and sharing them with your boss and colleagues.
Staying up-to-date with your industry doesn’t have to take much effort. One hour of reading per week should be enough to keep you aware of the most important developments. It is a good idea to subscribe to at least one industry magazine, and you might also want to follow some of the key players in your area through social media (e.g. Facebook, Twitter, or YouTube).
Take On Some Extra Commitments
Most of us feel swamped enough with the work we are already assigned that the idea of taking on extra assignments can feel unreasonable. The problem is that just doing your job is not going to allow you to stand out from the crowd.
Taking on an extra commitment doesn’t necessarily mean you are going to have a significant increase in your workload – for example, taking on the responsibility of preparing a room for a meeting might only take a few minutes.
Suggest Ways To Save The Company Money
One of the advantages you have over your boss is that you are likely to see things from a different perspective. This means you can spot things that management is going to miss, and these observations are going to be valuable if they can save the company money.
It is a good idea to do a bit of research before you present your idea, and if possible, support your claim with some documentation. If your suggestions do prove to be workable, it could put you on the fast-track for promotion.
Develop A ‘Can Do’ Attitude
If you have a positive attitude at work, it is not only going to make you popular with your boss, but also with your colleagues. Negative people do tend to attract the most attention in an office, but it isn’t the right type of attention. The person who complains all the time, and is resistant when it comes to change or taking on new responsibilities, is going to have a reputation for being hard to work with and a liability on the team.
The key to developing a ‘can do’ attitude is to become passionate about what you do, and to have faith in your own abilities. If the boss makes a reasonable request, you want to be one of the first to say ‘yes’. Don’t just say ‘no’ to things – if something isn’t going to work, you need to suggest an alternative.
Speak Your Mind (But Know What You Are Talking About)
You don’t want to become so much of a ‘yes-person’ that you gladly follow your boss into a disaster even though you can see the warning signs beforehand. Sometimes, you are going to need to speak your mind in order to be viewed as a valuable member of the team.
The important thing is that when you do this, your claims are backed by facts. If you speak your mind, but it is obvious you don’t know what you are talking about, it’s only going to damage your credibility.
Take Responsibility And Make No Excuses
Making excuses for your mistakes doesn’t help anyone, and it can give the impression that you are only interested in saving your own skin. A better approach is to just own up right away to mistakes, and show a willingness to rectify the situation.
The boss probably already knows the mistake isn’t completely your fault, but if you go on the defensive, it can just make you look guiltier. Making a mistake can put you temporarily in the boss’s ‘bad books’, but you can actually boost your reputation for professionalism by responding to this situation the right way.
Respond Positively To Failure
Some of the most successful companies in the world (e.g. Google) prefer to employ people who have tasted failure in their life. It is easy to do the right things when everything is going well, and there is lots of praise from superiors, but things don’t remain this way forever.
If you are so used to success that you react to failure badly, it can mean you become a liability on a team, because most projects are going to involve some failure along the way – it’s just part of the learning process.
Be Seen With The Right People At Work
If you work in a large office, there is likely to be a group of people who like to joke around and take things easy. These guys may be incredibly likeable, and sort of cool, but becoming a member of this group is likely to harm your reputation.
You may not want to go partying with the productive and efficient people at work, but it could be better to be associated with them than the office clowns.