“It’s all about who you know.” You’ve probably heard this phrase used to help someone find a house, or a car or a job, and it’s an extremely truthful statement: there’s nothing more important in life than the relationships you share with others.
This, of course, extends into the workplace. (See how we mentioned “jobs” as one of the places where your connections could come in handy?) Professionally speaking, your relationship with your boss is perhaps the most professional one that you’ll curate. This isn’t to say that you should spend your weekends palling around outside of the office with the woman or man in charge; you should, however, make it widely known that you’re respectful and worthy of respect.
Below are 10 ways to start building this rapport with your boss—there’s no denying that she or he will notice your effort and, most likely, reward you for the relationship and image that you build.
1. Look the Part
You shouldn’t spend all day at your desk re-applying gel to your coif or touching up your make-up; however, it’s a great idea to have an at-work toiletry kit to keep yourself fresh all day long and especially in moments where you’re working in close contact with your boss. For example, imagine you have an important presentation at 4 p.m. on a summer day. If you’re prone to sweating, it’d be a good idea to have a stick of deodorant handy in case you start to sweat before the big meeting. You know you’re own body best, so you’ll know what you need to bring, but some suggestions include mouthwash, throwaway toothbrushes, powder, under-eye concealer and an electric razor should you get five-o’clock shadow earlier than its name would suggest.
2. Mirror Your Manager
Sure, it’s important to be your own unique person and bring your own personal ideas to the table—your point of view is probably a big reason that you got hired in the first place. It is important, however, that you mirror your boss when it comes to your communication style. Let’s say your boss is always picking up the phone to call you. Should you use text messages or emails to get in touch with him? If your boss makes his or her preferences known, take note of them and use them: your attentiveness will not go unnoticed.
3. Take Initiative
Just because you’re you—and not, say, your boss—doesn’t mean that you can’t come up with ideas that will make your department or company run more smoothly. If you have a suggestion or want to reveal an area where your business could improve or upgrade, take it to your boss. One good example: an employee working at an electric company that, while modern in many areas, is still behind the times in the use of electrical estimating software. A forward-thinking employee might bring information regarding these advances to his or her boss and show just how much it could improve productivity and accuracy. Regardless of whether or your suggestion is implemented, it’ll show that you care enough to notice there’s a problem and take the time to come up with a solution.
4. Solve Problems On Your Own
In a similar vein as the above tip, it’s important that you don’t simply communicate your issues to your boss. Instead, if you’re having an issue, present it to your boss with a possible way to solve it. Let’s say, for example, that the team you manage consistently slacks on their filing duties, to the point where you are often left to do it. Rather than simply ratting them out to your higher-up, suggest an afternoon where you sit down with each member of the team and go over once more the behaviors that are expected of them. Or, perhaps you could revert back to number three and suggest your team adopt the use of electronic filing so as to avoid future pile-ups. Either way, your boss will most likely oblige your requests if you’re saving him or her the time of solving your problems.
5. Update Your Status
Obviously, this tip has nothing to do with social media. Instead, it’s important that you provide your boss with status updates on the projects that you take on so that he or she feels like they’re always in the loop. Remember: your boss is in charge of everything that comes out of your department, so, if what you produce isn’t up to par, it could reflect poorly on him or her. For that reason, status updates typically make bosses feel more relaxed and more confident in what you’re doing. If you put your boss at ease—and produce above-average results—you’re certainly going to stand out from the crowd.
6. Take the Blame
Every day at the office will not be perfect; you probably know this by now. It’s extremely important to acknowledge any mistakes you’ve made and take responsibility for your actions, even if the reason your promise fell through was something beyond your control.
7. Water Your Own Seed
Your boss is most likely not going to nurture your growth and promotion within the company. It’s your responsibility to make sure that your career takes the path that you envision. In order to stay on course, ask your boss what you can do or work on that would prime you for the responsibilities that you seek in the future. Added bonus: your boss will undoubtedly appreciate your foresight and remember your efforts.
8. Get In On Time—Or Early
Have you ever heard the story of the perpetually late employee who got an amazing promotion? You haven’t, because that story doesn’t exist. Instead, it’s the employees who are at the office on time or even before their boss who get first dibs on such coveted roles. Why? Not only does your punctuality make an impression, but you can also get started on your work before the office fills up with distractions.
9. It’s Not Easy Being Boss
In a world where everyone is concerned with self-promotion and success, an employee who takes the time to consider making his or her boss’s day easier will undoubtedly stand out. Even if you only come to your boss from time to time—say, each quarter—with an idea on how to facilitate one of his tasks, you’re showing that you’re out for more than your own workplace happiness. And don’t doubt for a minute that your boss will remember who helped him when he’s looking to help someone else with a new promotion or raise.
10. Stay True to Your Word
This article started with an idea that is universally true and extremely important (“It’s all about who you know”), and it’s going to end with another: you should always stay true to your word. This idea has its place within the four walls of your workplace, especially if you’re looking to connect with your boss. If you say you’re going to finish a project by a certain date, you finish it on or before that date.
If you take a few memos off of your boss’s hands so she can attend a client lunch, make sure they’re on time and reflect your best writing. And, if you continuously stick to your commitments and complete them beyond a satisfactory level, your boss will start giving you more responsibility and autonomy around the office. That is perhaps the clearest evidence that he or she has, indeed, noticed you.
Photo Credit Flickr and US Department of Labor