There are two rules in business. Rule number one: Make your boss look good. Rule number two: Don’t forget rule number one.
If you can master these two rules, you’re as good as gold in the eyes of the bigwigs who lead your team, department, office or organization.
As a leadership coach, I spend an incredible amount of time working with senior executives, managers and teams to help them build their leadership capabilities. One theme always seems to jump to the forefront in our discussions: the frustration leaders have with their employees who don’t meet the expectations of the job.
So, how much easier would your life be if you could get inside your boss’s head and know exactly what he or she wants? Based on hours of conversations, countless coaching sessions, a bookcase full of research and a dose of good old common sense, here are seven things your boss wants you to know, with tactics to make them happen:
1. Get things done
Your boss actually doesn’t care how busy you are; it’s easy to be busy. What your boss is counting on is that you achieve your daily, weekly or monthly goals consistently. Results matter − so make sure you’re getting them every day.
How to make this happen: Be clear and focused on your priorities. Don’t waste time on things that don’t matter − stick to the key objectives that you and your co-workers are measured on.
2. Be accountable
Accountability is simply doing what you said you’d do. That’s it.
How to make this happen: Keep your word. That’s it.
3. Go the extra mile
Do more than what’s in your job description and be more than your job title. Going the extra mile will pay huge dividends with your boss and do wonders for your reputation.
How to make this happen: Find ways to add more value by helping your co-workers succeed. It doesn’t take a lot of effort to go the extra mile and says more about you if you do than if you don’t.
4. Put your pride on the side
You don’t always have to be right and you don’t always have to get your own way. Your success has as much to do with your team’s success as it does with you. Get along with your co-workers, figure things out as a team and play nice.
How to make this happen: Pick your battles and accept that there might be a better way than your way. And don’t be afraid to take the high road − it’s a road less travelled.
5. Leave gossip at the door
Nothing travels faster at work than gossip. Unfortunately, most of us aren’t paid for rumours, innuendo, office politics, half-truths or hearsay. Your boss wants you to focus on what you get paid for.
How to make this happen: Refuse to participate in office gossip. Tell those co-workers who drive the rumour mill that you’re not interested. Your silence and lack of response will speak volumes. There’s an old saying: “Whoever gossips to you will gossip about you.”
6. Be a solution provider
You’ve heard it before: “If you’re not part of the solution, you’re part of the problem.” The only time your boss wants to hear complaints, problems and bad news is if they’re followed closely by possible solutions or helpful assessments of the situation.
How to make this happen: At the very least, be prepared to offer some advice to rectify any problem, glitch or hiccup. How you frame it will be key. Use phrases like, “We could consider this…” or “I’ve spoken to the supplier and they’re suggesting we…” Offering suggestions will show that you’ve given the situation some thought, and your idea might trigger an even better fix.
The powers-that-be really want employees to respect their co-workers, company policies, procedures and the organization in general. They do believe in you − that’s why you were hired − and there’s no better way to remind your boss that you were the right choice than by setting the standard for respect towards others.
How to make this happen: Acknowledge and recognize that everyone has an opinion and needs to be heard. No one has cornered the market on good ideas, so generate as many as you can with your peers when trying to move your organization forward. Giving respect will get you respect.
Remember, it won’t cost you a penny or any extra time for you to deliver on any of these seven things. Knowledge is power and now that you know what the boss really wants the rest is up to you.
Feel free to add more tactics in our comment section and look for part two in the coming weeks: Seven things your boss needs to know.
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