Do you want to start impressing your boss, influencing others at work, or you want to know how to make your boss like you or improve your relationship with your boss? Impressing your boss - it’s the simplest way to not only get ahead but it can also set you up for bigger things if your boss moves and either their spot becomes available or they take you with them to a better opportunity. Either way, It’s hard to meet someone who doesn’t want to impress their boss.I bet if you thought about it, your relationship with your boss could do with a bit of work? That's definitely true for my coaching clients, many of whom, I've given the following tips to help them impress their boss.
There are THREE LEVELS to impressing your boss.
Level 1: DO YOUR DAY JOB WELL
So the first thing is to do you day job well. That’s a basic, so I’m not going to spend any time on it. It’s ground level stuff when it comes to impressing your boss. The only reason I’m mentioning it all is how many frustrated senior leaders I speak to who say ‘He only started a few months ago and is already asking about promotion!’ or the equally popular ‘She’s asking what extra she can take on, but she’s not even doing the basics well yet!’. That exasperates and isn’t going to get you anywhere quickly. Enough said.
Level 2: ASK YOUR BOSS ABOUT THEIR PRIORITIES
If you want to impress your boss, ask them about their priorities and routinely. Questions such as ‘If I could only focus on 3 things for you, what would they be?’. This is about getting your boss to prioritise what’s important to them, not just to you. Then revert to step 1 and do those things really well. The reason I’m asking you to check in routinely is because, just like everyone’s life: priorities change based on what’s going on in the company, the market, for clients or other stakeholders. So you’ll need to be flexible. If the second time you ask them, they give you a different priority, then don’t try to additionally take it on to the first list. Maintain your boundaries and say ‘Okay, thanks for the update on the situation. Compared to last month’s priority list of X, Y and Z - what’s now a nice to have rather than a priority’. This is a key one, and particularly overlooked by a lot of women who simply say ‘Yes’, to every new request until they are trying to do it all - rather than focusing on a few priorities.
Level 3: TAKE AWAY THEIR STRESSES
The third piece in impressing your boss is to help them get ahead of the stresses their job causes them. Impressing your boss is a bit like dating, in that you always remember the people who go above and beyond. Anyone can take you to a movie and buy a tub of popcorn - extra butter please. That’s Level 1 stuff. But it’s not particularly memorable! It’s the ones who go beyond what your expecting in how considerate they were that you remember. It’s interesting what you can glean from a conversation where you ask the simple: ‘What keeps you up at night?’ or ‘What headaches could you do without?’ Remember, they too have a boss with their own priorities. Helping them sort out in their own head most important to them is a great way to impress your boss. Even just asking ‘What would it mean to you if you achieved that thing?’ If you can focus on helping them manage their daily headaches, you’ll not only impress your boss, you’ll turn them into an advocate.
Now I’m going to share my favourite move with a pen that will impress your boss and show them you're serious. When you ask these questions, starting with asking about your boss’s priorities, write down their answers in front of them. It’s remarkable to me how frequently we ask questions, but don’t show the person who answered that we’re going to do anything with it. If I answer a question you ask and you just ‘remember it’, I have to hope you have a blooming good memory! However, if you take the time to write down my answers in front of me, it subconsciously sends me the message that you’ll do something with what I told you, and that’s impressive.
MENTORING IN THE WORKPLACE FOR WOMEN // If you’re looking for advice on mentoring in the workplace, in this video, Dr Suzanne Doyle-Morris talks you through the power of mentoring at work. Mentorship in the workplace has great advantages, and getting a mentor can give you the career advancement you deserve.
In today’s video about mentoring in the workplace, we’re focused on male mentors for female mentees. The sad truth is, professional women who have male mentors actually get more promotions and earn more money than those without.
But let’s be clear, this isn’t because men are better mentors, it’s just that men tend to be more senior. So today we’re going to focus on the 3 critical reasons you need a male mentor.
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WATCH MY EXECUTIVE COACHING VIDEO: https://youtu.be/XT_SowEykvk
So you’re wondering whether transferring to another department is the right thing for your career?The short answer is yes. The long answer includes three questions to determine whether your CURRENT organisation is the right place for a job switch.
But first, let’s start with the basics of why you might consider a move to a different department, which essentially boils down to this:
ARE YOU AMBITIOUS FOR THE TOP JOBS?
I’ve worked with 100s of women. The ones who make it to the top are those who get a wider range of experience in that company. The longer you are with a company, but working across different siloes - you get a better understanding of how the company works as a whole. You’ve seen it through ups and downs and you understand both the external market and internal politics far better than anyone joining the company from outside. This is vital as it’s expensive and time-consuming to onboard people, and half the time they don’t work out, something you might want to point out in your friendly way :)
YOU on the other hand, already know your way around and a wide range of contacts and advocates if you’ve worked across an organisation - you’re simply more memorable and have more allies. If you’re ambitious you don’t want to get stuck as being known as ‘Jane in accounts’.
So that brings me to whether or not your CURRENT EMPLOYER is the right place to look for internal transfers? That boils down to 3 questions to ask yourself on whether the company is a keeper, (even if the department isn’t.
1. Is the company a good long term employer with great benefits?
This is one of the main reasons to stay, but move to a different department. If you can’t answer yes, you’re better off moving to a different organisation completely rather than simply transferring to a different team. However, companies push to improve ‘employee engagement’ companies are wising up to how much people value generous parenting leave, flexible working, good pension contributions, holiday leave, tuition reimbursements and other factors. If they’ve got all of that and you still want a change, then a move to a different department would be better than a move outside the company.
2. Are you optimistic about the company’s future and its purpose?
You’ve probably had enough pep talks to get a sense of where the bus is headed. Is the company, and more specifically, the team you’d like to join growing? As importantly, do you like where that bus is headed? If so, stay in the company - but switch to a different department when you want a new challenge.
3. Can I get Profit and Loss responsibility?
Okay, so fiscal responsibility may not sound as sexy as it could be, but having experience with profit and loss responsibilities is vital for people who want to get ahead. The most common objection I hear about C-suite or Board appointments is of the candidate’s lack of Profit and Loss experience. They want someone who can tell their ‘Cash Flow’ from their’ Balance Sheet’. This particularly affects women. Women are less likely to be in those roles or seek them out. But if you’re ambitious, as we’ve already seen you are - then having a grasp of Profit and Loss is something you’ll need to develop on your way to the top. So get into a role in a department where you’ll get these skills.
Now let's increase your promotion opportunities...
Now you know that an internal transfer can help your promotion opportunities... you might want a bit MORE advice on how to land that promotion? I thought so.... So I'm giving away my step-by-step guide 'How to Get a Promotion in 8 Steps' completely FREE. It's worked for hundreds of my clients.
If this has been helpful, you’ll want to check out my YouTube channel. I publish a video packed with career advice every week.
Coaching in the workplace has so many advantages - both in terms of career benefits, and in terms of personal advancements. If you’re asking yourself “what is coaching?” and “How can it help career advancement?”, then you're in the right place.
First, I want to talk to you about coaching is NOT. I'll start with a story... I recently worked with one woman, Ramona, a senior associate who said:
‘I get so much well-intentioned ‘good advice’ from others, other Partners at her firm, her stay at home friends and her own husband. It’s helpful but it’s all based on what worked for those people when they tried to get various promotions, but I don’t think their answers are going to work for me.’
Ramona was right, coaching isn’t about giving advice, you have friends and even mentors for that.
Coaching is about helping you discover and then action your own advice, based on what you value, not what someone else values.
Click the link for three simple benefits of coaching that help professional women.
What might you, Maya Angelou and Michelle Obama all have in common? Self-doubt perhaps? Otherwise known as ‘impostor syndrome’ or ‘intruder syndrome’, it affects women, no matter how accomplished or well-qualified they are, far more than it does men. On book tours for her bestseller ‘Becoming’, Michelle Obama exposed this frailty when admitting to feeling like an imposter most of the time. Similarly, the acclaimed novelist Maya Angelou admitted: "I have written eleven books, but each time I think, 'uh oh, they’re going to find out now. I’ve run a game on everybody, and they’re going to find me out.'
If YOU also feel self-doubt creeping in occasionally (or even regularly!),keep reading for my imposter syndrome treatment.
I promise YOU. ARE. NOT. ALONE.
In the 25 years focusing on the psychology of professional women, I’ve developed 3 three ways to use your ‘fear of being found out’ to your advantage, to help you overcome imposter syndrome.
1. THINK OF IT AS A GIFT
Clearly, this is the ill-fitting gift you didn’t want, the one in the terrible colour where you’d like to say to the giver: ‘‘Really, you shouldn’t have!”
But impostor syndrome can still be a gift - if you act on it. That feeling motivates you to improve, and encourages you to be empathetic. In fact, recent research has highlighted that competence and confidence are actually inversely correlated. That is, the more confident you become, the less you improve your competence. Scary stuff considering the types of people most organisations promote. So, my first tip is to write down 5 things, you got better at because of your imposter syndrome. Once you get five, you’ll probably find there’s loads more skills you’ve developed that now feel easy, but only came because you focused on getting better at that skill.
And remember, if Michelle Obama, with her career accolades and amazing arms, can admit to feeling like an imposter ‘most of the time’, while touring with her bestseller ‘Becoming’, then it stands to reason imposter syndrome probably affects most of us.
2. ACCEPT IT’S NOT GOING AWAY
I’ve never met a professional woman who had NO self-doubt. The goal is not to overcome it, it’s simply to work around it. At a workshop I ran for professional females, one of the delegates, a woman with a sciences PhD admitted quietly to the larger group that after her last promotion, she often felt like a fraud. I asked the group who else felt that way at times. Every single hand was raised—much to her relief when she cried out: ‘I thought I was the only one!’
Successful working women have moments, even days of self-doubt … but they still know they can make the most of any situation. So my next tip is to write down the name of someone who’s admitted they’re not always confident, but based on how well they come across - you never would have guessed. Remember, we never know how someone feels - we can only guess based on how someone acts.
3. OWN YOUR ‘IMPOSSIBLE’ WINS
I grew up struggling with maths that defined the way I talked about myself for a long time. So when deciding on how to collect the data for my PhD, I put my big girl pants on, and specifically chose statistical modelling. I knew it would be hard, but I needed to shed my fear of maths or I would always fear it and define myself as ‘Suzanne: She’s a big talker, but don’t ask her a maths question’. As I now begin the daunting task of writing my third book, again, it’s hard but I remind myself: ‘I’ve done this before - and at least this time I’ve already been through the learning curve!’ We often diminish struggles we’ve managed to handle simply because they’re in the ‘rear-view mirror’ of life.
My final tip is to own those wins by writing down a list of what’s in the rear-view mirror of your life that looked impossible before you did it?
If you found this useful, you might want to check out my YouTube channel dedicated to helping professional women get the careers they deserve.
Suzanne Doyle-Morris, Author, Speaker & Gender Balance Expert for 25+ years.
Hear what I told BBC Radio about what to do about the worsening gender pay gap data