While it takes skill to do a job well, impressing your boss is an art. The internet is filled with lists of how to impress your boss, but most of these tips, when put into practice, can seem insincere. If you work for a boss who is impressed by a clean desk or arriving on time, you may need a different boss; those are givens in any professional environment. To truly impress your boss, try the following.
1. Stop trying to impress your boss.
Really. Your goal should not be how to impress your boss but, rather, how to develop personally and professionally. Focusing on your boss’s level of interest in you emphasizes impressions rather than actions. Developing your skills as a professional and a communicator will have the added benefit of impressing your boss, but it should not be your aim.
2. Avoid gossip and negativity.
Not all gossip is negative; in fact, Lisa Evans, writing for Entrepreneur magazine, reports that “One study out of the University of California, Berkeley, found pro-social gossip — that is, gossip that is driven by concern for others — can promote camaraderie and can even help to relieve stress.” However, negative gossip is poison to a working environment. This type of gossip, Evans writes, “can cause employee turnover, poor morale and disruption of work flow.”
3. Make mistakes.
While too many mistakes can cost a company time and money, if you are not making any mistakes, then you are not challenging yourself. The key is to make observant, unique mistakes. That is, if you are going to learn from your mistakes, you need to pay attention to what went wrong and avoid doing the same thing again.
4. Use technology.
“Technology” comes from the Greek word techne, connoting craft or a way of practicing knowledge. Useful technology helps workers do things more easily. Unnecessary technology, however, is worse than no technology at all, as it adds an extra dimension to problem-solving. Using technology wisely means understanding what technology is available and when it benefits your industry.
5. Know your industry.
Certainly, knowing the ins and outs of your industry will impress your boss. More importantly, though, this knowledge opens up avenues for smart business decisions. A simple way to stay abreast of changes in your industry is to set up an RSS feed that you check every day. Using keywords specific to your industry will cull unnecessary content.
6. Cultivate a love of learning, both informal and formal.
Taking an active interest in others creates learning opportunities. In addition, universities do more than disseminate knowledge — formal education also gives graduates better credentials. Take extension courses at a local university, or enroll in an online MBA program.
7. Communicate your accomplishments.
People often avoid talking about their accomplishments for fear of coming across as arrogant. However, “bragging” implies exaggerating, and if you are truly pursuing personal and professional development, there is no need to exaggerate. A simple trick is to keep a running list of your accomplishments at work and review them periodically. Not only will you take more pride in your work by seeing concrete examples of your progress, you will also have talking points when it comes time to ask for a promotion or raise.
The secret of how to impress your boss is to not even try. Trying to impress your boss is disingenuous at best and sucking up at worst. A good boss is interested in the professional development of his or her employees. If you avoid negativity and focus instead on your improvement, your boss will take notice and will certainly be impressed.
Learn about the Texas A&M-Corpus Christi online MBA program.
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