There isn’t a single one of us who wouldn’t want the chance to impress our boss, especially during that time of the year when we’re up for a performance review.
Now, you might be dreading the thought of dazzling your boss simply because it has connotations of sucking up. There’s definitely something to be said about that method of winning over your managers; when it’s done in bad form you tend to lose more friends than you make.
Fortunately, there are plenty of proven ways to win points with your superiors without being the perennial purveyor of flattery.
Make an Appearance Outside of Work
This doesn’t have to be a regular habit, but occasionally showing up to after-work events or parties is a great way to not only interact with your coworkers outside of the work environment, but to also show your boss you’re invested (even if just a little bit) in your job.
Again, this doesn’t mean that you have to say yes to every invite you get, but don’t say no to every invite you get, either.
As Business Insider Contributor Angelica Marden wrote, it’s totally normal to begrudge an after-work get-together.
“Prove you care by making an appearance for one drink, a short conversation, or the toast, and then sneak back to your mountain of work or personal engagements,” she wrote. “Your boss will remember whether or not you showed but will be too busy to notice when you ducked out.”
Not a bad strategy, in our opinion, but you may run into trouble if your boss keeps a close eye on everything happening and sees you scoot out after just a few minutes.
Make Your Voice Heard
Before you run off to your computer to send a scathing email about company policy, take a moment to think this point through.
Effective teams work because each player is clear on what’s happening on the field of play. What happens when one person doesn’t know their job? Disaster.
Don’t be that person who misses a crucial piece of information and then doesn’t ask a question later. Speak up when you have to, even if it means admitting you missed out on an important point. Chances are, you’re not the only one.
“Everyone appreciates clear communication and brainstorming, and the healthiest way to get support is to ask for it,” Marden wrote.
You used to hear the phrase “buy in” tossed around when evaluating new employees. Do they believe in what we’re doing? Do they use our products or services? Can we count on them to love the brand as much as we do?
Buy-in is often used as a determining factor for hiring someone, but it also comes in play when managers consider an employee’s prospects for long-term employment with the company. And there’s nothing that’s a more powerful testimony of your worth than taking ownership.
Of course, “taking ownership” isn’t a single-dimension phrase. You can take ownership of a project, which means you embrace it and are proactive. You ask questions and get solutions.
You can take ownership of a mistake, meaning you don’t pass the blame on someone else but you accept your mistake and admit it was yours.
There’s also the aspect of taking ownership of a new role or position, where you attack it with confidence and enthusiasm like you did the first day you were hired.
All of these qualities of ownership reflect well on you and win points with your boss.
Carly Sec, a contributor for Hubspot, put it this way: “Don’t be afraid to bring big ideas to the table. This is the type of behavior that bosses love to see, as it exemplifies your ability to think about the business on a high level.”
Use Books to Increase Your Value
We all know that learning more about our companies and all the intricacies therein makes us more valuable as employees.
However, the tough thing with boning up on your corporate knowledge is that it’s really hard to calibrate when and how much you should say in certain situations. Dropping a knowledge dump on your colleagues and boss can come off as a little overbearing.
So, take a different route to increasing your value through learning: bring a business book to work with you. It doesn’t have to be an iconic work of old; it can be a contemporary book like Ashlee Vance’s biography of Elon Musk.
Reading it during lunch breaks not only sharpens your acumen, but it also acts as a conversation starter with your colleagues. And, in the end, your boss is bound to notice you reading up on the latest business and entrepreneurial trends.
A recent Men’s Health article noted, “You are developing your mind and your outlook … and turning yourself into a more valuable employee.”