Making Your Boss Look Good

It’s easy to get so caught up in making sure you look your good and your image is untarnished, that you may overlook a powerful opportunity – that of making your boss look good.

So just how does making the big cheese look good benefit you?

1. It demonstrates your promotion-worthiness. This may sound selfish, but managers initiate most advances. Knocking the supervisor’s socks off just may mean a little more cash in your pocket or a coveted advancement.

2. Managers see your potential. You may not be a senior team member now, but if you consistently prove yourself to be an ace, your boss may just start to visualize you as an individual worthy of promotion.

3. It instills humility. By looking out for another person, it solidifies that you’re a member of team – something bigger than yourself.

4. You gain valuable “in the trenches” experience. Whatever led you to making the boss look good may have been outside of your day-to-day job duties. So not only did you earn brownie points with the manager, but you also garnered experience you otherwise would not have had the opportunity to get.

You know “why” you should make your supervisor look good. But just how do you go about doing that?

1. Go above and beyond. It’s not enough to “just” do what’s expected of you. Do the “unexpected.” Identify ways to help the organization or take on tasks not asked of you. Make yourself indispensible, as Ted did — and now he’s bank president!

2. Share your strengths. As you know, I like to talk about strengths. They’re something we all have. You may be great at organizing and coordinating details, or you may be an IT genius – or maybe relational finesse or troubleshooting problems is more your thing. Whatever the case, don’t live on an island. Share what comes easy to you with others. Seize your talents and make an opportunity!

3. Outperform. I mention taking on tasks outside of your “job description.” When it comes to your day-to-day tasks – those within that job description – don’t be satisfied with simply fulfilling them. Doing the bare minimum is not going to make you indispensible, and isn’t going to make your boss look good (by way of you).

4. Offer solutions. Organizations are fraught with people who like to complain about everything that’s wrong. Instead of jumping on that bandwagon, dare to be different by offering work-able solutions to those problems. Leverage your innate skills and your energy to take the initiative and improve your organization – as opposed to adding to the problem or maintaining status quo.

I’ll leave you with one thought: It may be tough to overcome the self-consciousness that comes with the notion of “trying to make your boss look good.”

After all, nobody wants to be labeled a “suck-up.”

It is a delicate balance to strike – that of endearing yourself to the boss but not so much so that you’re alienated from the rest of the team as a so-called “supervisor’s pet.” Look at it this way: There are plenty of people who want the role you’ll seize by taking the initiative, but they’re either too afraid to do so because they are self-conscious or they don’t want to put in the extra work. You need to look out for what’s best for you, and if that means looking out for the big boss, so be it.

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