So, you have a new job and with it comes a new boss; or maybe, you have the same job and a new boss has been appointed as your superior. Now what you ask?
Since the economy has been in recession, the current state of things is causing many people to really rethink how they view their job security. Those jobs for life we hear our parents and grandparents speak about, are unfortunately, not nearly as prevalent as they used to be. For all of us, our best bet is to make ourselves one of the employees that stand out from the others in terms of the willingness to work, enthusiasm, innovation, our behaviour, skills and dedication to our organization.
Below are a few suggestions to keep your boss happy and think very highly of you. And ‘’No’’, I’m not talking about sucking up to your boss or brown-nosing your boss. Rather, these tips are legitimate, positive, inspiring and necessary guidelines to help you build a great relationship with your boss. In my 15-year career to date I’ve worked at a large number of different companies and held a wide variety of positions. I’ve seen how this works from every angle, so I thought I’d share some thoughts on what’s worked for me and what I’ve learned along the way. Remember, bosses don’t want to lay off staff with whom they have a genuine work friendship. Here is how you can get started on the right foot:
Have a positive, can-do attitude
You might be nervous about starting a new job but try not to let it affect your attitude. Have a positive attitude to your job and the tasks assigned to you. Try not to think “I can’t do this”; rather think “I’ll figure it out.” Don’t go over the top; just keep a positive mind-set rather than a negative one.
Different people like things done different ways, so when you have a new boss, it is best to find out how they like things done. Ask for time frames for tasks, frequency of updates on progress, what the expected outcomes are and so on. It is better to get direction at the beginning than to make mistakes simply because you didn’t know. If in doubt, ask- it is better to get clarification than get it wrong.
Look at both sides
Remember, while you have a new boss, your boss also has a new employee. Consider the situation from the boss’s point of view to give you a broader picture of the situation. You don’t know what the boss expects of you; you don’t know what to expect from the new boss. Give your new boss a chance to be the best boss you have ever had.
Don’t try too hard
You won’t earn any credibility by being in the boss’s face, pushing yourself forward and being a know-it-all. Just stand back, do you job and be prepared to say if you don’t know something. You will look good if you can refer the boss to someone who does know the answers they seek. Relax and be yourself, work quietly and efficiently, answer questions honestly and succinctly and you will make the best impression.
Don’t indulge in office gossip with the new boss
Let your new boss find out about other workers in their own way; it is not your job to spill all the latest workplace gossip. Telling stories about other workers will earn you no credibility and casts doubt as to your work ethic.
Actions speak louder than words
Don’t waste your breath telling your new boss how good you are. Actions do really speak louder than words so just put your had down and do your job to the best of your ability. Talk is cheap; always do what you say you will do, don’t promise what you can’t deliver and follow through until the job is completed.
Volunteer for extra tasks
Nothing gets you off to a flying start with a new boss than volunteering for additional work or tasks that are normally outside your job description. Only volunteer if you intend to follow through and always ask for guidance with a task you are unfamiliar with. Being prepared to ‘go the extra mile’ always makes a good impression with a new boss.
Consider a new boss as a fresh start
Whatever reputation you had with your last boss or in your last job, having a new boss gives you the opportunity to start fresh. Leave behind any problems or hassles that you had and make a fresh start with this new boss. Determine to do the best job you can, be trustworthy and reliable and don’t allow any grievances with your last boss affect your relationship with this one.
Well, there you have it. I know that was a lot of information to cover, but it’s some important stuff. You probably came to this page looking for some quick and easy things you could do to look better to your boss, but here’s the beauty of this system: if you actually do these things, you’re going to look better to everybody; And not in any kind of tricky or gimmicky way, either. You’ll look better because you’ll be better. If you want to be known for all the positive things mentioned above, the only way to achieve that goal is to actually be that kind of person. There are no two ways about it, and there is no substitute for hard work.
Remember what Jane Boucher, the author of How To Love The Job You Hate: Job Satisfaction for the 21st Century said “The relationship with your boss is a partnership, and it takes an effort to build the relationship and nurture it. You have to communicate well, avoid confrontations and resolve differences in a positive way.”
So, have you tried to impress your boss in the past? What has worked and what didn’t work? I would love to hear you story.
How refreshing these points are – none of this ‘stay in the office till you die’ stuff. I think that not gossiping with the boss is very important; unfortunately many people do exactly this becuase they see the world as a zero sum game – it they are to appear to be good, someone else has to be bad.
I have seen that too. I hate the one upping mentality. If you ask me collaboration and supporting each other goes a lot further.
Yes you are right Maria,Enjoy the little things, for one day you may look back and realize they were the big things.
Great quote. We should all live our lives this way.
These are all great. I’m the youngin’ in my office, and definitely don’t gossip! Makes you look even younger.
Glad to hear. I have found this a trait with lots of young people. It’s a good thing you stand out as different.
I think you capture this very well across several of your points, but the ‘big picture’ thing to keep in mind I think is that bosses are human too (well, most of them are), and they have a boss and so they value workers who make their work life easier, more fun, and more rewarding. If you can do that for your boss, you’ll be highly valued by him or her.
True enough. Everyone has a boss and they are forced into tough spots too. No one is immune to work pressures. If you use that to guide the direction you receive you can often be much more objective and understandable. This translates to a good working relationship.
Excellent post! Very important tips. I would like to add showing up on time as being important too.
I have worked with managers that I didn’t click with (fortunately just a few) and I have worked with managers that I instantly got along well with and we actually became friends that would get together outside of the office. Communication and feedback are very important to me, and maybe that helped build the great relationships I had in the corporate world.
Being punctual can be important. I am never late for a meeting but I do flex my hours.
I too have had some issues with certain bosses but to me that is to be expected. You aren’t going to jive with everyone. However you can try your best to be respectful and control your own actions. That will always benefit you.
These are absolutely great points. I would also add “being consistent” to this list. Consistency in meeting project deadlines, volunteering for extra tasks, and others will greatly sit well with your new boss.
Agreed. By being consistent people know what they can expect from you which is a great comfort.
Great (and timely!) post! I’m in the middle of a job change, and I’ll definitely be keeping these tips in mind 🙂
Best of luck. Where are you in the process? Have you started at the new place yet?
I like these — many of them could be under a post called “how to be a better person” not just new employee.
True enough. I actually act the same at work as I do in other parts of my life. I don’t like being fake and I don’t think it works well long term. Integrity is huge.
Good points, I would add to take notes because that shows you really care. Too many new employees fail to take notes which leaves a really bad impression on a new boss.
I have seen this and it bugs me. It is like you aren’t valuing what is being said. I find my notes a great source of info. I often can do a better job on a project because I have additional sources of info.
Great points, and agree with Krantcents at the end. When I was doing a co-op stage, my old boss told me I would look better if I had a notepad with me, even if I didn’t really need to review it later. You never know when you might actually forget something, and it helps to have those notes, and it looks like you care more when you take them.
Agreed. I go through a ton of notepads and they usually prove to be useful.
Good timing on your article. I just recently started a new job and it is nice to see someone else’s opinion on how to handle it.
How is the new job going?
I try to work on some of these with my current boss 😀
Let me know how it goes.
Definitely agree with all of these points, but I love the one about doing your job well. Your hard work and dilligence will pay off — the boss doesn’t need a show-off, just a good worker. Personally, I have always been the quiet worker of the bunch, never tooting my own horn, but bosses have always recognized my work ethic — good to know that hard work is seen even if you’re quiet!
I agree. You never lose by working hard and people will notice, even if it isn’t always your boss. Sounds like you and me are alike in our approach.
Absolutely. I always try to look at things from the other side. It helps me formulate my plan and message and I often make a much better solution in the end.