You know what would be nice?
 
If we lived in a world where our bosses judged us solely by the quality of our work.

Don’t get me wrong, your quality of work does play a huge factor. But, it’s not the only thing that matters.

You have to learn how to impress your boss.
 
So here’s the thing:

There are several factors that, when added together, can make or break your relationship with your boss.
 
What’s the bottom line?
 
Impressing your boss can be the difference between keeping your job or getting the boot.
 
So since none of us want to be on the chopping block, here are 15 foolproof ways to win over your boss. 

1. Know Your Boss

man and woman shaking hands

It’s hard to impress someone if you don’t understand what makes them tick.
 
So here’s the deal: 

Bosses judge some employees by their input and others by their output.
 
For example, a consultant may work from home and send her work electronically. As a result, she hardly ever interacts with her boss. 
 
In that case, she gets judged solely by her output.

Why? Because her manager has no idea whether she pulled an all-nighter for that report or wrote it in a few minutes.
 
And then there’s the rest of us. The office-bound employees.
 
For us, our bosses regularly check behind us and track what we do. 
 
They can tell when we’re working, but they don’t usually notice individual output. 
 
So, first aim to understand how you are being evaluated. 
 

2. Support Your Coworkers

coworkers high fiving eachother
 
Nice guys finish last.
 
At least I used to think this way.
 
Mostly because I could think of many examples where I saw an arrogant person hired, promoted, or rewarded while someone else got passed over.
 
It’s for that reason that the “nice guys finish last” saying is so persuasive – because it feels so true.

And if you’re trying to learn how to impress your boss, that can be a little demotivating.

But, there’s a difference between feeling true and actually being true.
 
I came to this powerful realization after reading Give and Take.
 
In his book, Adam Grant talks about how people can be split into three categories:
 
Givers, Takers, and Matchers.
 
Givers do good by helping others without expecting anything in return.
 
Takers are all about, “What’s in it for ME?”
 
Matchers give, but they want to make sure they’re getting an equal exchange.
 
Who is the most successful?
 
Givers. And here’s why:
 
Almost every job posting lists ‘team oriented‘ as a requirement. But how many people actually brush up on their people skills?
 
Not only is this a great opportunity to win over your boss, but it’ll make your work a whole hell of a lot easier.

Here’s why:
 

  • It increases your productivity. It lets the company take on extra work without having to hire more people.
     
  • Communication is a key component to the successful competition of many projects.
     

And while we’re at it – avoid gossiping or being involved in it.
 
This is not just a work tip; this is a life tip. Getting yourself caught up in the gossip mill is a quick way to end your chances of career success. 
 

3. Be Visible

business man pointing at laptop

Here’s a very important career lesson:
 
Avoid “gray man” status. 
 
This doesn’t mean you have to take every chance to get face time with the boss and laugh at all their jokes, but it does mean you need to be visible.
 
So don’t allow yourself to get lost in a crowd of faces.
 
Be the employee who smiles and greets your manager when they come in the door. 
 
Be approachable.
 
Don’t avoid the office party.
 
Because at every job, there’s always someone who never “feels well” or “something came up.” That person doesn’t know how to impress your boss.
 
So don’t be that person.
 
You know how they say that as many business deals are made on the golf course as in the office?
 
Take that to heart.
 
If you dread company events, chances are you just don’t realize how much you can use them to your professional advantage.
 
If you don’t show up, it will definitely be noted. 
 
Subconsciously your boss will start seeing you as less of a team player. They won’t think you’re invested in the company. 
 
Besides, you don’t have to hang around the party forever. Your boss will only remember that you made it – not when you left.
 
It’s a small price to pay in the long run.
 

4.Know Your Boss’s Priorities 

people having a business meeting

Some people call this realizing that your boss IS your job.
 
And to a large extent – those people are right.
 
Your job is not writing reports, replying to emails, or answering phones. Instead, your job is managing the relationship with the person who’s in charge.
 
If something isn’t at the top of your list but your boss expresses that it’s important – then it should immediately become important to you, too.
 
Try to find out what your boss’s biggest headaches are and make them go away. That’s the fastest way to show how valuable you truly are.
 

5. Be Invested

man and woman having a meeting

Gone are the days of lifelong employment.
 
With so many options, people are now more likely to make the switch when something better comes along.
 
But that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t act in the long-term interest of your company.
 
So learn the companies goals and values.
 
Get to know the regular customers and understand the products and services inside and out.
 
Dedicate yourself to supporting increased growth within the organization. 
 
Show your boss that you’re invested by asking questions about where the company is headed.
 
Over time this will make you more valuable and your boss will become a supporter of your growth and success. 
 

6. Show Up Early

business man walking and using cellphone

If you’re wanting to know how to impress your boss, then make sure you show up early.
 
…and not just because it’s the nice thing to do.
 
I’ve been in meetings before where the boss looks around and says, “Anyone know where Dan is? He was supposed to be here 10 minutes ago.”
 
Awkward.
 
And you know that feeling of rushing to work and desperately trying not to be late?
 
Yeah, that feeling sucks because it sets the tone for the rest of the day. 
 
Showing up early makes you seem more prepared – whether you’ve actually done anything else differently.
 
Plus, it gives you a buffer. Sometimes it’s hard to predict traffic or even worse – something unexpected happens and it sets you back.
 

7. Don’t Cramp Their Style

man suiting up in business suit

You have your own way of doing things.
 
You might even feel like your way is better (so that’s why you do it)
 
But, try it their way from start to finish. Because if you don’t – rest assured, they will take notice.
 
Even if you don’t mean it, it will come across as “Sorry, boss – I don’t think the time it would take to do it your way is worth it.”
 
And who would be impressed by that employee?

So ask the right questions, take notes, and get it done the way they want it done.
 
This is a win-win situation.
 
If it works their way, then you add another successfully completed project to your list.
 
If it doesn’t, you can offer ideas and strategies to improve. This is also a great tip for how to get a promotion at work fast.
 

8. Look for Solutions 

coworkers talking at business meeting

Performance reviews only happen once a year, but appraisals happen daily. 
 
Being a boss comes with a lot of responsibility. It comes with the overwhelming feeling of thinking you’re responsible for fixing everything.
 
So when there’s a problem – don’t just point it out. It’s usually obvious to everybody that something has gone wrong.
 
Instead, offer your suggestions and do your part in fixing the issue – even if that means resolving it yourself.

 9. Put Your Phone Away

group of people using cellphones

This is a no-brainer to most of us, but I guarantee that there’s still someone out there that needs to hear it. This is especially important if you’re trying to figure out how to impress your boss.

Listen:

Put your phone away during meetings.
 
There’s always that one person at every meeting who is a repeat offender.
 
You notice them glancing under the desk.
 
You know what they’re doing. The boss knows what they’re doing. Hell, we all know what they’re doing.
 
And it screams, “This is unimportant to me. You’re unimportant to me.”
 
Except…the boss cuts the paycheck every week, so aren’t they important?
 
Give meetings your full attention, ask questions, and write things down.
 
Ignore your phone instead of ignoring the people around you. Your texts, emails, and social media updates will be there when you get back.
 

10. Make the First Move

woman sitting at desk using cellphone

This can be as simple as greeting your boss with, “Good morning” or “How’s your day going?” as you pass each other.
 
Be a good listener and try to build rapport.
 
What does your boss really care about? Family? Sports? A particular project that’s happening in the office?
 
Once you know where your boss’ focus is, you can relate to them on a much better level.
 
Did you know likability is the number one key to getting promoted?
 
Sure, work ethic plays a role, but think about it like this:
 
After a job interview, nobody says, “Wow, Ashley was so punctual! I can’t wait to work with her!”
 
It’s more likely to be, “Ashley was not only professional, but she was also so nice! She’ll be great to have around!”
 
See what I mean?

Being likable and having charisma can make or break so many opportunities in our lives.
 
Last year I picked up The Charisma Myth and it is one of the most interesting books I’ve ever read.
 
Admittedly, I started reading this book expecting more of the same, common sense and abstract advice like, “Be a better listener.”
 
But this book actually gives specific, concrete action steps. Every single piece of advice is followed by direct actions to take.
 
So for anyone who wants to be more charismatic, more successful at work, and more able to positively influence those around them – this book tells you everything you need to know.
 

11. Stay Organized

organized desk area

Have you ever walked past someone’s workspace and it looks like a tornado hit?
 
Paper explosion, an overfilled trashcan, and coffee cups everywhere.
 
What kind of message does that send? Do you think that’s a smart move when you’re learning how to impress your boss?
 
Probably not.
 
So keep your area tidy. Regularly look for ways to keep your space organized.
 
When you’re using the office kitchen, leave it in better condition than when you found it.
 
Oh and, NEVER cook fish in the office microwave. Always a bad idea. 

12. Keep it Quick

clock hanging on wall

My mentor taught me this trick a long time ago.
 
When you need to talk to other coworkers, get a drink, or use the bathroom – do it quickly.
 
Don’t loiter during bathroom breaks or stroll around the office on your way to the printer.
 
Having a brisk pace makes you look intentional and hard working. 
 
When you’re spotted by your boss, it’ll always seem like you’re being productive. 
 
It’s a harsh reality, but people who don’t look busy are the first people put on the chopping block when firing employees. 
 
Because if they don’t look like they ever get anything done, why would the boss keep them around?
 

13. Be Pleasant to Be Around

two coworkers smiling and laughing

We don’t always get to pick who we work with. We get thrown in with a bunch of other people and just pray it works out.
 
The truth is, your boss (and everyone else) would actually like to enjoy the people they’re around.
 
But without fail, there’s always someone who has to complain about Mondays.
 
I get it. Most people don’t like Mondays. It’s relatable. But over time – it shifts from being relatable to just being annoying.
 
Your boss would actually like to think that you like your job since they write your paycheck and spend most of their day with you.  
 
So having a positive attitude at work will not only show happiness, but it’ll make you magnetic to the people around you.
 
Think about how many colleagues you’ve had (and managers) that sucked to be around.
 
The negative Nancy’s who come in everyday with the, “I wish I wasn’t here” attitude. 
 
Those people suck. So don’t be like them.
 

14. Speak Up

man giving presentation at work

Employees who sit silently while everyone else is exchanging ideas are seen as employees who don’t bring anything to the table.
 
It’s not fair, but it’s life.

So if you’re wanting to learn how to impress your boss, it comes down to this:
 
Make sure your voice gets heard.
 
Share your thoughts and suggestions. Let your team know when your tasks are going well. 
 
Bring attention to yourself sometimes. Put yourself out there. 
 
You know what they say – great things never happen within our comfort zones.
 

15. Stay Consistent

man working on laptop

No matter how hard we try, we all have the tendency to perform in peaks and troughs.
 
It could be caused by personal factors outside of work or something work-related.
 
The key is to try your best to remain consistent and maintain a high standard for yourself. In your boss’s eyes, you’ll be seen as extremely dependable and trustworthy.
 
They’ll know that when they give you a deadline – you’ll meet it.
 
Bosses are always looking for a steady pair of hands to help guide the ship. 
 
When a promotion or raise is on the table, then you’ll be the first person in consideration. And 99% of the time, this is the key to learning how to convince your boss you deserve a promotion.
 
Let me know in the comments, what are you doing to win over your boss?
 
Thanks for reading.

Jamie Cohen is a Career Coach and HR Manager for EndThrive. After graduating with a B.A. in Human Resources Management, Jamie obtained his MBA from the University of Georgia. He became the lead HR Researcher & Engagement Manager for Operations, Inc. before branching out on his own as a career coach. Connect with Jamie on LinkedIn.