Learning to impress your boss is a good way to improve your career. Doing that, without sucking up or being obvious, is an even better way to improve your career!
Everyone can spot someone who sucks up to their boss. It stands out like a sore thumb. They compliment them all the time, talk to them a lot about work and personal things in a manner that makes them seem like they're only doing it to get noticed, as well as many other things that make them seem like they're sucking up to them.
The key to impressing your boss is to be able to do it without sucking up. I've listed six tips that will help you to impress your boss without sucking up! That's right, six!
Arrive On Time (Or Early) Every Day
Employers always set standard or expected working hours. These are usually 9 AM until 5 PM, or slight variations of that. I've mentioned this in the Five Professional Tips post, but arriving on time is a great way to impress your boss. Arriving earlier is even better. You don't need to make a big deal out of it - arriving on time, consistently, will get noticed by your boss. All you'll need to do is walk in, maybe say good morning, and get to work. Your manager will notice that you're one of the workers that consistently arrives on time.
Staying back and putting in extra hours is a good way to impress your boss as well. Your manager expects results from you, and staying back will not only help you achieve those results, but will hopefully get a higher quality because you've had more time to work on them.
This is a point open to discussion, as on one side of the argument is the work⁄life balance and the ability to juggle your workload. The other side is the notion of going above and beyond and getting results. This may depend on your personal circumstances or family. Personally, I don't have a problem with staying back to get work done, and I know my boss both realises it and appreciates it.
Your manager is there to manage the team's workload and direction set by their manager. They are not there to babysit you and tell you what to do every minute of the day. You should be able to make your own decisions and take initiative where it's needed. This can involve identifying problems in current processes or systems and suggesting solutions. It can also involve putting your hand up for work or ideas without your boss' involvement. This means there's less for them to do and to worry about, and they think that you're able to handle yourself at work and improve the team.
Find Solutions To Problems
This point is related to taking initiative, but it's a bit more than that. If you find a problem - either with a system, a team member, a current process, a project that's being undertaken, or anything else, you should have a solution or a suggestion before you mention it to your boss.
Have you noticed one of your co-workers is overworked and seems to be very stressed? Suggest to your manager that you take some of their work off them or help them out where you can. Notice a problem with a system? Come up with a solution that both fixes the immediate need and the long-term prevention of the issue.
Your manager will notice your problem solving skills and appreciate that you're doing work to help the team.
Let Your Actions Speak
You can say all you want about how good you are, or what you can do (I hope you're not - nobody likes a bragger!). Other people can say that you're a smart person. The best way to make this known is to let your actions speak for yourself, rather than words. This means that the work you produce and what you do should send the message that you're efficient, effective, and overall excellent at your job. People will realise this - your manager, your co-workers, other teams and even managers higher up. There's no need to point this out to other people - your work will speak for itself.
Obviously, you'll need to be good at your job to be able to pull this one off, but I assume you are already good at what you do!
Use Your Computer Very Well
As you work in the IT industry, I can safely assume that you know how to use a computer better than the average office worker. You probably know shortcuts and ways of doing things easier than most.
Knowing how to use a computer very well not only improves your efficiency at your job, but it makes you look like you know what you're doing. You seem like someone in control and without a worry.
It also has the added benefit of being another thing you can help your manager with. I've had managers in the past who have asked me many times how to do certain things on their computer. Each time I've been able to show them how it's done, and they've been grateful. This hasn't been part of my role, but little things like this can help to impress your boss.
Leave Your Problems At Home
Everyone has a personal life outside of the office. And with that personal life comes its own set of problems! You may have just split up with your partner, you may be having family issues, your car may have just been stolen, or any number of other non-work-related issues. It's understandable that these may make you feel angry, stressed or to lose focus at work.
However, it's important to try to leave these problems at home. Deal with them and think about them outside of the office. It can be hard, sometimes, especially if they're new. But, if you deal with them at work, your manager will notice. They may be sympathetic towards you, but overall it's not a good way to impress them. To keep up the appearance of confidence and to set a good impression, it's a good idea to leave them at home.
At a later date, your boss may find out that you were going through something in the past, and think to themselves that they never noticed your change in attitude or work output. Now, THIS will impress them!
This is related to the above point, but is a broader concept. Staying positive and in a good mood is a great way to impress your boss. It exudes confidence and it's also contagious - your positivity and good mood will spread to others. Your productivity will improve and you might even find yourself enjoying your day!
Nobody likes a whinger. If you have the need to complain or be negative, do it in a constructive way and in a private situation with a co-worker or manager if needed. Don't grumble and swear and be negative about the environment you're in or work you're doing. It's not a good look.
Be Very Honest
Honesty is one of the best traits or qualities a person can have. This applies both in the office and in life in general. Be honest with your boss about your workload and whether or not you have enough time to get your work done. Be honest when owning up to mistakes that you've done. Be honest when asked for an opinion on something or with your progress on a task. If you don't, people will make decisions based on false information and you will usually get found out in the end. It works best for everyone if you're honest about everything. Nobody likes a liar!
Walk Quickly Around The Office
Get into the habit of moving around the office at a brisk pace. Walk as though you have a purpose and confidence in yourself. There is a whole field of study related to body language and confidence, that I won't go into, but the reason that walking quickly is good is that it makes you look like you're committed and busy and have somewhere to be, and not lazy or without purpose.
The trick is to walk quickly without looking stressed or rushed. I believe if you walk without looking lazy or casual then it should send the good impression you need.
Meet And Even Exceed Deadlines
One of the best tips I've received is "under promise, over deliver". I even wrote an entire post about it! This point essentially means that if you have deadlines - either set by yourself or your manager - make sure you meet them. Even better, exceed them. Exceed them either in time (getting it done before the set time), in quality (make sure the result is better than you committed to), or in output (giving them more than what they asked for, as long as it's relevant).
If you commit to something being done on Wednesday afternoon, have it done by Wednesday morning, for example. If you need to produce a spreadsheet with a table of information from a system, provide this sheet to them, but have it well formatted and with no errors. Adding graphs, analysis, or further information that may be useful will also impress the person you're delivering it to.
Well, there are my twelve tips on how to impress your boss without sucking up. Didn't think I'd be able to come up with so many? Well, there's the example of meeting expectations - I created a commitment and met it!
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