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What Your Boss Wishes You Knew

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Make your boss happy and your chances for promotions, pay raises, and bonuses improve.

Make your boss unhappy and your career will be “nasty, brutish, and short.” To steal from that eternal optimist, Thomas Hobbes.

Today, some quick tips on how to make your boss happy. 

U.S. News lists “8 Things Your Boss Wishes You Knew” [4]. And the advice is actually decent.

Be a Solutions’ Person

Employees have problems. Questions. Difficulties. Things that require time and assistance from their supervisors. Things that take away from the bosses ability to get their own tasks complete. Employees tend to be big drags on a manager’s time.

If you demonstrate you are a solutions’ person [5], you will shine. You will also be a rare creature and in high demand from other managers.

But Ask for Help When Needed

Let me differentiate this though from someone that wants to avoid bothering the boss.

It is one thing to take ownership for your tasks, do all the work, then present it to your boss in a box with a beautiful bow.

It is completely different to encountering problems, not wanting to ask for assistance (because you proudly own things), and end up digging a bigger and bigger hole. One that requires your boss to lift you out with a crane, rather than a foot stool.

And do not pretend to know something [6] if you do not. Always clarify tasks prior to commencement. Misunderstandings are another big timewaster for all involved parties.

If you ask good questions, your boss will appreciate it. If you continually ask stupid questions and not learn from your prior mistakes, your boss will also appreciate it. But probably not in a way you like. So if you want a growing career path, spend a little time improving your knowledge [7] base.

I would also add that there is a difference between asking for assistance and asking for trouble [8]. An important distinction.

Be Professional

A big problem in my experience. And one of my main bugaboos with employees.

Ensure that you can perform your job in a professional, grown-up manner.

Emphasis tends to be on [9] time management, proper literacy in communications, professional behaviour with staff and clients.

I am not an English teacher, guidance counsellor, father, etc. When I assign tasks, I want them done as if I had performed them myself. On time, accurately conducted, with proper grammar. Ready for me to review for content and discussion, not requiring proof reading and guess work.

Include These in Your Resume

In this day and age, many candidates with similar technical backgrounds and experience apply for the same open positions. To get the offer, you need to differentiate yourself.

I think the main key is to demonstrate that [10] you have the: ability to learn new skills; self-motivation and discipline to learn those skills; track record of success applying those skills.

I also think it is important to make your potential boss “feel” that you will make his/her work life easier. If the interviewer associates you as someone who will allow the boss to go home at 5:00 p.m. with no headaches, you have an in for the job. That is just as important, if not more so, than if you have superior technical skills than the other candidates.