Good Employees, Better Employees – Getting the Boss’s Attention
By April McCallum
Do you want your boss to notice you? Get your boss’s attention by transforming yourself from a “good employee” into a “better employee”.
This article gives you practical suggestions that are easy to implement and can be put into immediate use.
Focus on areas where you can shine — but more importantly — by communicating better, making a positive impression and adding value in your workplace, you will become a better employee and that will get you noticed. You will wonder why you waited so long!
Put Your Thinking Cap on. Don’t wait for your boss or anyone else to think for you. Come up with your own unique ideas, observations and questions — then present them.
One of the greatest assets any boss can have is people on his team who are pro-active, look for new ways to do a good job and who think for themselves. It shows that you are a leader and not a follower, are engaged in the process and you are not afraid to take responsibility.
Don’t Stop Learning. The more you know your company’s business, understand your competition and expand your own personal knowledge base — the more valuable of a player you become.
Not only will it help you to be a more interesting person and more useful to your team, but it will also help you to see the bigger picture which makes you a better long-term investment. In essence, the more you grow, the more your company grows.
Make Research Your Friend. Dig and then dig again, and go back and dig some more. If you are persistent, you will find all sorts of useful and timely information about your competition, the overall market, trends, technology, what customers want, new market niches, or find answers that may solve pressing questions your boss or team has been tasked to answer.
Research is your friend because the process of exploration and discovery will help you establish building blocks and link key facts that will eventually lead to the development of future plans.
Be Pro-Active. Don’t wait for someone to approach you and give instructions on how to go about every little task — where to go to find answers, what you should be thinking, how things can be done better, how to fix a problem and so forth.
Step up and go for it – bosses like to see “doers”. It shows that you are willing to be progressive and make a contribution without always having to be prompted.
Become an Expert. Create a niche or find an area of interest that is relevant to your company or line of business. Make it a point to learn everything you possibly can about that topic.
Start reading news feeds, articles and blogs on the pros and cons of a promising new technology that will be a great complement to your company’s products or services; take just one product you offer and study it inside and out until you can rehearse the features and benefits in your sleep; focus on an area where your competition is weaker and hammer out strategies to convert their customers; research and uncover uncharted territory where you know your company can expand its market share and underscore that intelligence; informally poll customers about their likes and dislikes giving you the “expert” vantage point.
You may find that you quickly become recognized as a “go-to” person — and all the smarter in the process.
Think Outside the Box. Not everyone is a “creative type”, but don’t let that keep you from trying! Innovation, insight and inspiration are all refreshing and welcome compared to the same old, same old. “New and different” alone won’t cut it, but ideas that are new and different that make a positive impact on the way your company or team does business will.
If your idea attracts new customers, helps grow existing business, expands market share, uncovers new opportunities, defines new processes or sets your products or services apart — you can be sure it will grab your boss’s attention.
Be Conscientious. As an employee, you may not realize the connection between squandered time, wasted resources, irresponsible decisions, apathy or negative personal habits or traits and the bottom line.
Make no mistake, your boss and everyone else on the upper rung of the org chart does. Would you rather be known as the guy who’s always goofing off or the guy who’s always on his game? Ultimately, you are the person in charge of your reputation — make it a good one.
Get Positive Feedback. If you look good, it makes your boss look good. If he looks good to his boss, then they in turn, look good to the people above them. See how that works? They love to hear excellent feedback from partners, customers and others whom you relate to on behalf of your company.
Establishing positive and mutually beneficial relationships and feedback between departments within your own company, your internal customers, is also very wise. If you can get feedback in writing, all the better!
Know Your Boss’s Triggers. All bosses have trigger points – good ones and bad ones. You may learn these by trial and error, but it’s better to learn them by observation or simply asking.
If you know they prefer to spend the first two hours of the day catching up on email or planning, don’t barge into their office to ask if they want to hear about your latest “great idea”. If you know they are a stickler for detail in presentation, don’t forward them your first sloppy draft with spelling and other errors in its rawest form.
If you know they don’t do spontaneous meetings or introductions very well, don’t let them get caught off guard, make it a point to brief them ahead of time. These may seem small but they are not. They will eventually reinforce good or bad impressions over time.
Be Prepared. Always come to meetings ready to contribute to the objectives. If no agenda has been circulated in advance of a meeting, ask for it. That way you can formulate questions ahead of time. If you do know the purpose of the meeting or brainstorming session, come prepared with thoughts, ideas, observations and/or questions. Being prepared shows that you are a thinker, a contributor and a team player.
Be a Scribe. Don’t just sit in meetings taking up oxygen. Take away personal action items even if you’re not called out specifically.
Take notes not only of what your boss or another speaker presents, but also note key points or thoughts that others bring up, questions that have surfaced or things you may want to remind yourself to follow up on after the session.
Make the best use of the information download and pro-actively think of ways you might be able to add to the overall process.
Represent Your Company Well. You represent the company when you are on and off the clock. Are you respectful when you are out and about in public? Are you community conscious? Do you act with integrity?
How do you talk about your company, projects, boss or co-workers? Get noticed for the right reasons, not the wrong ones. News has a way of circling back around.
Be Grateful. It’s amazing how many people take so much for granted. There is such a false sense of entitlement for every little thing. We can be so fixated on our own needs and wants. We rarely consider that the good things are available to us because someone made a decision to make them available.
Stop looking for the downside, and start looking for the upside, and you may just find it. Expressing your gratitude will more times than not, set you apart from the typical crowd. A simple “Thank You” goes a long way.
Speak Up. So often, employees desperately want their boss to notice them, to recognize their part in a job well done, to acknowledge a particular strength or to consider them for a role or a raise. Unfortunately, good employees get overlooked far too often. However, there are things you can do to help remedy your dilemma.
Number one: find your voice. Ask your boss for feedback or a review. Let them know you are flexible and available for projects and assignments. Communicate your desires, questions or ideas. Ask about expectations so you have a clear understanding of what they want — then execute.
Be Positive. One of the surest ways to get noticed is to be a positive person. Have a positive attitude, treat others well, be a team player, encourage others, find ways to build a cohesive unit, maintain integrity, stay away from negative people, find creative ways to help build the business, find solutions to problems or volunteer to help in some way. Smiling is always a bonus too!
Serve. When we consider what it means to “serve”, we may think of things like: assisting, aiding, providing, helping, preparing or being useful. In general, we have become so self-focused – what’s in it for me? – that we only think in singular terms and we lose sight of the whole.
Take a few minutes to think of ways you may be able to serve your boss. Could he use help researching details for an upcoming report with a tight deadline? Would she appreciate it if you volunteered to mentor a new employee? Maybe you can sit in on a meeting and take notes, prepare presentation slides, or create a spreadsheet analysis for them. Believe me, you will be the exception to the rule.
Taking the initiative to go the extra mile in a way that will benefit the team’s objectives will not only be refreshing, but it will get you noticed in a positive way.
Start today by transforming yourself from a “good employee” into a “better employee”. It won’t take long for you and your boss to notice a measurable difference — and that’s the type of attention you want. Now, go knock their socks off!