Whether you like them or not, your boss is a driving factor when it comes to career advancement.
If you’re looking to get another job or promotion within the company, a great letter of recommendation from your boss could be the deciding factor that makes you stand out from other candidates.
Getting the approval of your boss makes your current job more enjoyable and less stressful. A happy boss means happy employees, and happy employees means more profits. But you can’t just sit back, do the minimum job requirement, and expect your boss to like you—in order to earn your boss’s respect, it’s important to be proactive in your career.
Perhaps you’re just starting out at a new job and want to impress your boss off-the-bat, or you recently made a work error and want to get back on their good side. No matter the situation, here are four ways you can get into your boss’s good graces:
1. Learn How to Take Constructive Criticism
Part of your boss’s job is to make sure all their employees are performing well and meeting the goals set by the executive team. If one of their workers is slacking off, it’s their duty to let them know and give them advice on how to go about doing their job better. Even the best employees slack off sometimes. When their boss confronts them about it, their ability to acknowledge their lackluster performance and take the advice to better their performance is what makes them so great. When the boss sees them excelling after using the constructive feedback they gave them, they see the drive and determination those workers have to be great.
When your boss gives you constructive criticism, it’s easy to think they’re out to get you or you’re doing a poor job. In reality, they’re giving you feedback because they know you have the potential to be better and genuinely want to see you succeed. If you take every piece of criticism to heart, it will hold you back from advancing in your career (especially at the executive level, where thick skin is part of the job description).
Next time you receive a piece of constructive criticism, look at it from your boss’s point of view. Is your performance negatively affecting the goals and objectives set for the team? Listen carefully to the advice your boss gives you, and actually implement the tips he suggests. If you do this, your boss will take notice and think highly of you for actively taking steps to improve your performance.
2. Take On New Projects
If you want to show your boss you have what it takes to handle a lot of responsibility, this is the best way to go about it. Asking for more work shows your strong initiative and ability to be proactive. When your boss sees this, they’ll see you’re able to handle more responsibility, which will be valuable when the time comes to advance in your career.
If you’re a new hire, it can be difficult to take on new work if you’re still trying to focus on getting acquainted to the work you’re initially supposed to do. Once you get all settled into your role, do a little digging to find a task your team has been meaning to get to for a while. If you’ve been rocking your normal work duties, your boss should be more than happy to give you the assignment.
Make sure you know the time and effort the additional work will take, lest your normal duties suffer. If this happens, it could actually hurt you in the end, and your boss might peg you as overly-ambitious, which in this case is not a favorable trait that will get on their good side. For more advice on how to handle an extra work load, consult this article.
3. Know How to Work Well On a Team
Being able to effectively work and lead in a team atmosphere is a fantastic skill to have, whether you’re trying to impress your boss or not. Being a team player indirectly shows your boss you have the personality and drive to manage other people, and they will keep that in mind when considering you for a promotion or writing a letter of recommendation.
You can be a great team player by getting to meetings on time, finishing assignments before deadline, and offering your thoughts and opinions during meetings. It’s also important to boost up your teammates around you by helping them succeed with their own goals and giving them the confidence to feel comfortable speaking their mind around you.
Offer to pick up any slack if your coworkers are having trouble, or work overtime to help someone finish their project—anything that proactively shows you are a good team player will bode well in your boss’s eyes and keep you closer and closer when they make considerations for career opportunities within the organization.
4. Adapt to Their Work Style
Imitation is the most sincere form of flattery, and it works great when you’re trying to get on your boss’s good side. After a few weeks of subtle observation, it will be pretty easy to identify their work style and habits. Even though you may not be crazy about all of them, conforming to the big ones will put you in your boss’s good graces.
For example, maybe your boss likes face-to-face communication about even the most trivial matters, while you prefer email to get your points across. Adapt face-to-face communication when talking with them about future business, and they will view you more favorably for adopting their methods, even if subconsciously.
By learning and adapting your boss’s work habits, it will make things easier on them. You may even find yourself becoming more productive as a result, solving problems you never thought you could handle before. When intertwined with the previous tips, your boss will see themselves in your work style and be more apt to help you when the time comes to explore new career opportunities.