How to Keep Your Boss Happy and Add Value

Bosses are important because many employees have bosses, are bosses, or may play both roles. If you find yourself in one of these categories, you are in good company as Stanford research indicates there are at least 21 million bosses in the United States today.

Despite staggering numbers of people in charge, the mission is simple: make your boss’ role easier, become indispensable and help them meet their objectives. Since this mission may be easier said than done, tips on building your relationship with your boss follow.

Be the effective communicator

Bosses have full schedules, crowded inboxes, and appreciate concise communication. For perspective, the average office worker now sends or receives 121 emails a day, according to a recent report by the Radicati Group. Translation: your Boss potentially receives more than 121 emails each day. To be heard by your boss, speak and write in brief sentences, use the smallest amount of words possible to get your point across (e.g., key messages), and make that point clear and easy to understand.

Business people shaking hands with their future patner

Be the go-getter

With a little direction, self-motivated employees are the go-getters that take the lead on assignments or research details before important meetings. Sara Nichols, Senior Vice President at Kforce Inc. says these self-starters can help their bosses save time and allow them to focus on other areas.

“Employees that routinely rise to new challenges and demonstrate a high degree of self-motivation, tend to get recognized when the opportunity for advancement is presented,” says Nichols.

Be informed

It is important to understand the operation of your organization. If you are new to the company or are now ready to learn more, start by familiarizing yourself with the organizational chart and reporting structures. Follow this with a review of the top customers as well as the profit and loss to understand the financials. This will make your more valuable to your boss in the near term and allow you grow into a role that a fluid workforce may create as time progresses. Learn as much as you can along the way as the ability to adapt to change is a valuable skill in today’s workforce.

Be supportive of professional goals

Certainly, a primary job of any employee is to make the boss’s life easier. Just like you, your boss has professional goals that he or she is trying to accomplish, Al Coleman Jr. lawyer, professor and author reminds us; “Find out what’s on your boss’s plate, and see how you can help to lighten the load.”

Be the ambassador

If questions can be answered better in the field, schedule the trip. I was speaking with a senior leader in the high-tech industry and he shared a clever tip that helped him expand a relationship with a non-technical boss. His two-part action included field visits as well as periodic 1:1 briefings with his boss who was new to his industry. As an added benefit of spending time, to help his boss understand the technical issues on the job, this high-tech leader was able to expand his business acumen as his new boss was assigned to lead a large organization for obvious reasons.

In the end, your boss has a role to cover, projects to lead, and initiatives to execute—and they hired you because they want you to help make these efforts successful. Based on your experience, do you have a tip or expert insight that has helped you build a positive relationship with your boss? If so, please share your professional tip with the audience by adding a comment below.

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3 thoughts on “How to Keep Your Boss Happy and Add Value

  1. Maggie Johnson

    Concise communication is a sound idea. My boss travels and has commented that is hard to read long emails from some of our department managers.


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