24th Mar 2016

Ten tips for impressing your boss (and getting on-track for promotion)

Image courtesy of Cathryn Lavery

Getting a promotion requires much more than simply doing your job. Promotions are given to those who are able to differentiate themselves from their colleagues for one (positive!) reason or another. We’ve compiled our top ten tips from “Your Next Role: How to get ahead and get promoted” by First100 Chairman and Founder, Niamh O’Keeffe. Get ready to do the hard work…

1. Do what you say you’re going to do
Doing what you say you are going to do demonstrates to your boss and others around you that you are reliable and can be trusted to get things done. It also shows leadership and it shows that you lead by example.

2. Deliver your work ahead of schedule and under budget
Delivering your work on time and on budget means that you are doing your job. If you can exceed expectations and deliver things early, saving the company money in the process, you will impress your boss.

3. Take the initiative
Showing initiate and taking control not only demonstrates ability, it also shows your boss that you have the capacity to make things happen for the company and that you can stand on your own two feet.  

4. Bring the solution as well as the problem
When you approach your boss with an issue, always bring a solution and recommendations on how to solve the issue. That way you are not presenting your boss with a problem that they need to solve, you are looking for their advice on how to solve the problem.  Your boss will appreciate this as it will help keep their stress levels down!

5. Be loyal
Your boss needs to know that you’ve got her back. Don’t embarrass your boss by challenging her in front of others at meetings. You can challenge upwards, but always be constructive. Try to help her out as much as possible and support her where appropriate both in her presence and when she is not around.

6. Be a team player
Work hard for your team, be supportive and avoid confrontation. Of course you need to speak your mind and fight your corner when necessary, but try to do this in a diplomatic manner. You can add even more value by completing the tasks that everyone forgets and by tying up loose ends.

7. Become an industry geek
Identify a niche area of expertise that is missing from your company which would be of value (to both your company and your boss if possible). Being the go-to person for something massively increases your value.

8. Offer to take some of your boss’s workload
This is a sure way to impress your boss. It is also an opportunity to get involved in work that would allow you to demonstrate your ability to operate at the next level. However, be cautious with what you take on - you don’t want to take on too much which could result in missed deadlines, nor do you want to find yourself in a situation where you are being taken advantage of.  

9. Be an optimist
Nobody likes to be in the presence of an “energy hoover” who sucks the life out things. People would rather be around upbeat and positive colleagues, and who can energise a team or a meeting and keep spirits up. Having a positive mind-set and approach to things can also increase your productivity and the productivity of those around you – now whose boss wouldn’t like that?

10. Be consistent – no surprises
Keep your work life drama free. Be consistent in everything you do: be it turning up to the office, delivering high quality work or simply being professional. This means you need to manage expectations effectively – another sure sign of maturity and leadership.

A final word of advice
Impressing your boss and her peers is good way to put yourself in the running for a promotion – but it’s only a small part of the puzzle.  It also helps to put a significant amount of thought, and work, into your endeavours to get promoted. You need to think about and identify what (and where) your next role is likely to be. Is there a role that your boss can promoted you to? Or is there a role that your boss can recommend you for? By thinking strategically about your promotion and what you want, you are giving meaning to you efforts to impress your boss. This will drive you to succeed, and mean you can tell your boss what job you want when the time comes!

Niamh’s third book with FTPearson “Your Next Role: How to get ahead and get promoted” Was released in February 2016 and is available on Amazon.co.uk.

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