Your working world includes many different colleagues, each with their own qualities and capabilities, but at the very centre of your day-to-day working life is your boss. The one person who has the potential to impact your entire career. They are key to whether you enjoy your role or not, and they’re also the person who gets to write a recommendation letter should you choose to move into a new role. Therefore, it is critical that you get into, and remain in, your boss’s good books. Becoming indispensable to your boss is a sure-fire way to achieve that, so this week we bring you our top tips to get your boss sweet on you – you can thank us later.
Consistently Stick to Your Word
If you say you’re going to do something, do it, and do it on time. Your boss may be relying on you to get work completed by specific deadlines to ensure they can then get work on their own projects started; if you’re late you’ll cause a knock-on effect, delaying them and making them look bad further up the hierarchy. Sometimes delays cannot be avoided, in which case you should let them know as early as possible. Don’t be that guy or gal that reports each and every problem you stumble over; if it’s a problem that could impact the project timeline or quality of the deliverables, then by all means go to your boss for advice – but go armed with solutions.
Be on Your Boss's Team
Your ability to work well within a team is a given in the world of recruitment, but integrating yourself into your boss’s team fosters an even more positive, and hence productive, working environment. You’ll find that when your management team are relaxed, you and your team will be able to work in a less pressured environment. Understanding your boss’s goals and responsibilities is half the battle, so ask what their targets are and how long you have to reach them. Hitting these targets will not only be good for your billing figures (and bonuses!), but your boss will know he/she can rely on you too; this will help you with negotiations for salary increases and potential promotions further down the line.
Crack Their Communication Style
Being on your boss’s team is one thing, but if they don’t realise you’re on their team your efforts are likely to be wasted. Communication is mission critical to this. Some bosses like to keep in regular face to face contact, others prefer detailed email updates, some even communicate best by using super short WhatsApp messages. Figuring out how your boss communicates most effectively will prevent you from over-sharing and inadvertently annoying them, or under-sharing which could lead them to think you have nothing to update them on. As a general rule, it’s better to over-share than under-share the more junior your role is – use your own judgement, if you’re sending 10 emails per day with good news or problems to solve, work to consolidate them into one progress report email per day.
Stay One Step Ahead
With all things in life, failing to prepare is preparing to fail – staying one step ahead of your boss with a healthy dose of proactivity will keep them smiling and you reaping the brownie points! If you’re asked to arrange or participate in a meeting, make an effort to read through the agenda in plenty of time beforehand. Doing your own prep work for agenda items that may be linked to you ensure you’re not put on the spot if asked to report billing figures or status updates for open roles you’re working on. This gives your boss the impression that you’re a safe pair of hands, they’ll begin to feel secure and in turn your responsibilities will increase – more responsibility means more money (hoorah!). Take careful notes when you’re in meetings, and follow up any action points in the following days or weeks; again this shows that you’re on the ball and ready to work.
Work With Your Boss
Making your boss unable to live without you isn’t as difficult as it sounds; be on your boss’s team and change your mind-set to working with them rather than for them – this will totally change the dynamic of your relationship and cultivate a secure, understanding and positive working environment. Consistently showing your value is an obvious way to get management on side, but without cracking, effective and efficient communication your efforts will remain unnoticed. Attitude and behaviour matter for more in this than natural ability; get it sussed and you’ll not only have long-term job security, but the ability to make your own choices and build your own career path too.
Heidi is PhD student at the University of Aberdeen. Her research focuses on the issues surrounding the recruitment of patients into clinical trials.