Think about how well you are helping your boss get her job done and meet her obligations. Are you doing everything you can (within legal and ethical bounds, of course) to help her look good and get ahead.
If not, your relationship may be getting in the way. Consider this list of 15 things you can do to improve your relationship with your boss.
- Show up every day full of energy and enthusiasm. Love your job, and dive into it eagerly every moment of the day. Can't do that? Perhaps you need to find a different job!
- Be positive. No griping around the water cooler, or in emails or text messages or elsewhere. No complaining and no wallowing in misery. Find the silver lining and focus on it. That doesn't mean you can never point out a problem to your boss. Just make sure it is a real problem and try to bring two or three potential solutions along with the problem.
- Learn every day. Learn new skills, pickup new knowledge, meet new people, find new resources. Help refresh the mind of the group.
- Set SMART goals, review them with your boss to get agreement on targets and deadlines, report on your progress and seek an evaluation when you have delivered on the goals.
- Speaking of which - Deliver Results! Bosses love that.
- Take all the time-off you are entitled to. Smart bosses understand that folks are much more productive when they have time to recharge - at night, on the weekend and on vacation. (Bosses note: you need to take time off, too, or your team never will.)
- Under-promise and over-deliver. Make your mind up to promise only what you know you can control and deliver, and then do it.
- Do work that is accurate, complete, relevant and useful.
- Contribute your ideas to make things better.
- Support your boss. Just like all of us, bosses need positive feedback and encouragement. Make your feedback specific, tied to goals, and behavior based.
- Focus your work on the things that make a difference to your boss.
- Communicate just enough and not too much. Learn how much your boss wants to know about various work issues, opportunities and projects and respect those desires.
- When you communicate with your boss, use her style. If she loves details, give her details. If she wants the big picture, give her that. If she wants to know how a proposal will affect people, provide your thoughts. If she just wants the facts, just give her the facts. If she wants you to get to the point quickly, do so. If she wants to chat first, do that too. Communicate the way your boss likes, not necessarily in your natural style.
- Say "No" when you need to. The best bosses fear they won't be told when an idea is stupid - so tell 'em!
- When the boss gives you an assignment, develop a plan of attack and share it with her soon. A good boss will delegate the "what" and expect you to put together the "how." Reward her with a quick and well-thought response.