How do you win over your boss?
Your boss is the most important person in your career aside from yourself. I've never seen anyone get promoted without their boss’ support… unless the boss was about to be fired.
If we start from the assumption that you are excellent and you don't have a bad boss, then here are three strategies for winning over your boss.
Build trust and partnership
This means gaining clarity on your boss's vision for the business and knowing where you complement your boss vs. where you overlap with her.
For example, if your boss is a visionary, then you can add value by being great at structure and process. Then, together you can deliver on the common goal.
And of course, make sure you keep them informed and never go around him to a more senior person – or even APPEAR to go around him – without his knowing you're about to do that
Make life easier for your boss
Your boss is probably dealing with pressure and deadlines every day.
You could help by starting every meeting the way a friend of mine does. She’ll sit down and ask her boss questions like “What are you worried about and how can I help?” or “What can I get off your desk for you today?”
When you have an assignment, be resourceful in getting things done. That means not having to go back to your boss every time you hit a roadblock.
My best team members always made sure they understood right up front what they were being asked to deliver, and then took the time to think through how to get at that creatively.
And most importantly, don't be “hard work” for your boss. We all know people who are very needy of attention and what my friend Catherine calls “couch time”, as in counseling time.
Sure, your boss has responsibilities for mentoring the team, but make sure you also have other avenues for getting the emotional support you need.
Make your boss look good
Here are a few ways to do this:
- First, you could come up with new ideas to advance the cause. I really valued team members who proactively came to me with ideas that could help us succeed in a bigger way. They would make suggestions like, “I just saw company X do Y. I think we could adapt this to work for our client base as well.”
- Another idea is to talk positively about your boss. Of course they need to deserve it, and when they do there's nothing like having team members vouching for you independently. Everyone needs good PR!
- And of course, produce results. At the end of the day, it's important to come through with the goods, and there's still no substitute for delivering excellent results to make everyone look good.
In conclusion, it’s all about building a great partnership with your boss, making their life easier and making both of you look good in the process.
So, what action will you take to win over your boss and keep her on side?