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.
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