Okay, picture this: You’re out with your girlfriends, grabbing a glass of wine. You’re all chatting and catching up, venting about the stresses of your days and weeks. Sooner rather than later, someone brings up work. Ugh. Nothing turns an evening from Happy Hour to Sad Hour quicker than the mention of your growing inbox or your endless to-do list. Once someone mentions that they’re nervous for a meeting with their boss, it’s all downhill from there.
Sound familiar? Regardless of your job title, we can pretty much all agree on one thing: There is constant pressure to impress our bosses. And that’s a good thing; it encourages us to work hard, pushes us to be our best professional self, and it motivates us to keep going when the days are long. But when the pressure from a boss feels too great, it can be absolutely overwhelming.
Amy Odell wants to help. As the Editor of Cosmopolitan.com (goals), Amy is no stranger to being someone’s boss. Here, Amy shares her five best tips for making your boss your biggest fan. And you’re going to want to listen — I mean, who better to learn from than a #BossLady herself?
1. If you ask for a raise or promotion, come prepared with a list of accomplishments that show why you deserve it.
In order to get a big raise or title bump, you will have to justify why you earned it. Bullet out everything you have achieved, print it out, and hand it to your boss. You are your own best advocate.
2. Don’t expect a huge raise and promotion every year.
A lot of millennials expect a title bump and raise every year. This isn’t realistic. The longer you are in your career, the more slowly you will get promoted for two reasons. One, it will naturally take you longer to master a higher level job than a lower level one so you’ll need more experience in it before you progress. Two, there are fewer higher level jobs than lower level ones. It’s good to marinate in a mid-level role for a few years. Assuming that you’ve mastered a position and are ready for a promotion after just one year can come across as entitlement and arrogance.
3. Tell your boss what you’re doing.
This may sound obvious but a lot of people don’t tell their bosses what they’re working on or what their struggles are. Don’t assume your boss knows about all of your successes or all of your struggles. She is busy and can’t track everything all the time. It helps her when you tell her what’s going on in your world – she wants the information and doesn’t want to have to spend time asking for it. You also want your successes to be top of mind when she’s talking about the organization’s successes in a meeting with her higher-ups.
4. Pick your battles.
Your boss is doing her best to make dozens of important decisions every single day. She’s in her position because she’s been entrusted by the company to make the best decisions for your group. So, if you’re going to challenge her decision or feedback, do so thoughtfully. A good manager will want to hear what you have to say and consider your input carefully. But if you fight her on more decisions than not, you risk appearing combative and difficult. If you are happy to implement most of her feedback and fight back only when it really counts, she’s more likely to acquiesce when you disagree.
5. Anticipate your boss’s needs and find ways to make her life easier.
You get two kinds of feedback at work – direct and indirect. Direct feedback comes in the form of obvious instructions like “Create this presentation by Thursday,” or “When you meet with the finance team, make sure you bring your most up to date budget.” The instruction is clear. But you won’t always get crystal clear instructions for everything you have to do. Indirect feedback is that which you have to infer based on what’s going on. For instance, if your boss asks for a draft of something on Wednesday for a presentation she’s giving on Thursday, but you know that she always has five hours’ worth of changes for you, file the draft on Friday or Monday and schedule an in-person review with her well in advance of her meeting. When you anticipate busy people’s needs, they are happy.