Making it work

Seven things your boss wants you to know

By Gerald McGroarty,

Comments (7)

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.

Image of a manager giving feedback to an employee.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.

7. R–E-S-P-E-C-T

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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Anne on

I once worked for a large company that from time to time had staff shortages on another floor. Because I could do the work so easily, people from the other floor would sometimes come to me asking if I could handle about 5 or 6 hours work a month. I said “sure”. After a few months of this my boss came to me and said “I don’t want you doing any work for them anymore. I have told the guys on that floor not to bother you anymore.” Infact that was the only time this so called boss even talked to me. Otherwise there was silence from him. I was the perfect candidate to pinch hit for the other floors’ loss of staff they experienced from time to time. I might add at the end of my tenure there he made up lots and lots of lies about me. So he had a job and I, the honest one, did not.

    Sue on

    It’s all fine and well to go the extra mile, do every thing you boss says and more, then when Christmas comes around all you get is $100.00 for the last 10 years, kinda hurts and you wonder what you could have done to change things. Sometimes boss’ have blinders on and they really don’t care about anyone else but themselves, as long as you help to bring the money in, that’s all that matters

Jim on

That’s great for the employee but what about “the 7 things that you want your boss to know”:

1. Manage more than just people. Technical competency is not optional in today’s market. It’s a must as a boss who’s clueless of a process or product spends more time getting in the way.

2. Admit to your shortcoming. Pulling the wool over employees eyes is a thing of the past; say the 1950s. Today’s workforce is highly educated and knows when something, said or done, isn’t right.

3. Give due credit where due credit is deserved. If you’re afraid that by giving credit to an employee that will eventually mean having to give raises, and promotions and maybe even your job, you’re right! Hard working employees deserve raises, promotions and even your job. If you decide not to acknowledge their contributions your now ex-employee will find work elsewhere. This same thinking repeated long enough will result with you being the smartest of the dumbest remaining employees. Sounds great until China owns you.

4. Be part of daily operations. Some managers think that having worked their way up the trenches that it’s beneath them to return to that level. Remember though, how can a captain command a ship when there is no one else aboard or better yet, the ocean has dried up. Actually know what’s going on around you so that you can contribute to your department.

5. Don’t ask employees to contribute to birthdays or baby showers. It’s bad enough you make more than all of your employees, don’t ask the less fortunate to dish out more.

6. Whether you’re here or whether you’re sick it really doesn’t make a difference. You know your time is up when everyone else can do without you.

7. R-E-T-I-R-E! You’ve made it this many years putting money away for vacations, retirement and that dream boat you’ve always wanted. The reason why there is retirement is to give demand for university and college graduates. If all the good paying jobs are being sat on, what reason is there for a higher education?

    cate on

    I agree with a lot of the points you made. But sometimes there are good bosses or workers out there that should not have to retire because of their age. When you get older, you will understand that you may want to continue to contribute to your pension or have the ability to pay your bills.

Mark on

This might show my age, but these were already common knowledge as far back as I can remember. Most people knew all these things, and for the most part used them in their working lives.

Steve on

All straightforward principles that any effective Manager should live by. Sometimes we all need reminding. I did today. Thanks.

Mark Schmalz on

I agree with all the above items. As an employee I think we should be on time when we start our shift.
We also should not be afraid to work OT if this means serving a customer or finishing a task

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