There will come a time in the career of every worker bee where he or she must make a big impression with the boss. There might be a need for a salary increase or some vacation time. You could be tired of working in the same old day-to-day operations of your current post and want to make a move, a vertical hop up a couple ladder rungs. Whatever the reason, the chances of your wishes materializing are slim to none if you have not taken the time to leave your mark with a lasting impression.
Think about when your supervisor approaches a group of workers at the water cooler. Does he know your name? Does he or she give you a nod? Maybe, a smile of recognition? Does he stammer a little bit when he begins to address you, stumbling for the knowledge of what exactly it is you do for the company? Now try to remember the last time you did something positively noticeable in your business dealings. Only you know whether the impression your boss has of you is accurate.
You do not have to be a total yes man or a brown nosing corporate want-a-be to leave a lasting impression. You just need to stand out from the drab monotony of the crowd. You must walk a little taller than the rest. Here are five tips to make a big impression with your boss.
1. Come in early when there’s a pending deadline.
You need to be there if there is a pending deadline or a pressured situation. You want to ensure that the impression your boss has is that your part of the companies solution for any problems that arise. This doesn’t mean you have to fix or do anything special. Just being there will embed an impression of loyalty and service in the bosses mind.
Alternatively, just come in early to be early! It doesn’t hurt to be conspicuous about it either. Start the coffee, turn on the printer, and send an early email. Do anything useful to make your presence known. Then get to work! The boss will love it, and you will discover how much more productive you can be when you trade the morning chitchat for an uninterrupted half hour of quiet.
2. Put up a white board in your cubicle or office space.
Try listing your important projects on a personal whiteboard hanging in your workspace. This way the boss can see with just a glace what’s on your plate. It will leave the impression that your organized and on top of things.
In the first column, list all your projects. Then label the subsequent columns similar to the following: planning, concepts drawn, first draft, approved, etc. Whichever column labels are appropriate for your tasks. Make sure to identify the status of each project with a check mark.
3. Keep your boss informed of problems.
This could mean production problems, communication snags, or any unusual circumstances that might affect workflow in a negative manner. It is never a good thing to be faced with the dreaded “Why didn’t I know about this?” question. No one likes surprises, especially bad ones.
When you inform your bosses of complications, he or she is also then able to promptly inform his or her own supervisor. When you make it possible for your bosses’ superiors to be in the loop, the benefits will roll downhill to you. Subsequently, if your supervisor is in trouble with is boss, you will probably have a rather stressful day. Keeping your superiors informed will allow them to do their job’s better, which in turn will make your job easier to do.
4. Share ideas that will increase business productivity.
If you can think of any way to lower costs, increase efficiency, or reduce errors, by all means, share it. This shows you are seeing beyond the puzzle pieces of separate tasks and departments. You are becoming part of the bigger picture and seeing yourself as an important contributor. After all, your success hinges on the success of your employer.
When contributing productivity increasing ideas to the boss, make sure you think through each idea carefully. Be prepared to discuss implementation or answer any other questions your idea might trigger. Don’t allow yourself to be caught unprepared. If you come up with ideas for change that do not appear to be grounded in defined action, your boss might feel you are a critical influence instead of a positive one.
5. Assist in matters outside of your direct influence.
If you ever find yourself with a light workload or even an extra hour on your hands, volunteer to assist in other projects or tasks. If you have finished your project, closed an account, or delivered the report early, let your boss know. Then ask if you can lend a hand elsewhere before starting up your next project. Your boss will appreciate the refreshing offer. You may even end up spending some valuable one-on-one time with him. This suggestion will leave the impression that you are interested in the greater good of the company, which will translate into the greater good for self.
These five suggestions for making a big impression on the boss are definitely not the “be all, end all” in the matter. They are merely tools that you can use to climb the ladder of the corporate world. The only way to go up is to be within the supervising authority’s circle of influence. By practicing these suggestions, you will leave your boss with the impression that you are a prompt and organized individual who cares deeply for the success of the company. Because of this impression, your boss will see and reward your loyalty and action.
There is only one caveat to this list of suggestions. You must practice these suggestions with integrity. In other words, your efforts must be genuine. You have to care about your personal performance and the profitability of the company. You have to back up all those early appearances, great ideas, and offers of help with a true desire to work hard, improve your capabilities, and achieve quality results. Do not waste your time building a facade. Bosses can smell pretense a mile away. When the veneer peels away, all faces look the same. The best way to become extraordinary is to work extraordinarily hard. In addition, by working extraordinarily hard you will make a big impression on the boss.
(Image courtesy of Kumar Appaiah under a Creative Commons 2.0 Attribution-ShareAlike generic license.)
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