1. Doing More Than What is Asked of You
This means exactly what it said. When your boss asks you to do something, do a bit more than what he or she asks. Or add something extra. For example, if she brings you into a meeting, don’t just sit in the meeting. Take some notes. And when you are done, share it with your boss. Here’s a template you can use:
Hi [Manager Name],
I took some notes at the meeting and outlined the key points as well as next steps. I thought this might be helpful so I’m sharing this with you. Let me know if you have any questions.”
You’re probably thinking, “Why would you do this extra work?” It’s little things like these that add up over the long-term. When you show your boss that you’re valuable and that you want to succeed, your boss will take notice.
2. Helping Your Boss with His or Her Pain Points
You can observe your boss to pinpoint exactly what she needs the most assistance with, but the most direct route would be to simply ask. The most convenient time to ask is during your weekly one-on-one meeting, or whatever system you’re set up with.
The reason why your boss hired you is to help him or her with a task or tasks. That’s why instead of just paying attention to what you’re supposed to do, ask her how you can help make her job easier. You can start the conversation by asking these questions:
- Are there projects that I should be prioritizing right now?
- I understand that I’m responsible for [your role], but are there other areas that you need assistance with?
Or you can simply say, “If you need assistance with any other projects, I’m more than happy to assist.”
Sometimes, being direct and asking what your boss needs is the most straightforward way to help your boss. Again, if you’re wondering why you should do this, it’s because bosses value people who solve their problems for them.
3. Showing You Can Deliver Results
When you show that you can deliver results, you are telling your boss that you are valuable and indispensable. Next time your boss asks you to do something, do it in an efficient manner and make sure to deliver high-quality work. This shows that not only is your turn around time is quick, you are also fast.
Here’s an easy trick that people have implemented to get results and you can do: Under-promise and over-deliver—especially if you know you can deliver the results.
For example, if your boss asks you to research a list of 15 print vendors in the local area and you come back with a list of 20 vendors with detailed and well-researched notes, you’re overdelivering. This shows that you’re a capable person who is reliable. Your boss and the people around you will depend on you and you can use this to your advantage to ask for bigger and better projects.
4. Taking Initiative
When you are starting a job, instead of asking your boss for every little thing, you should try to find the answer first before asking your boss. This means finding things out on your own. Not sure where this item is? Ask your coworker first before going to your boss. Need to store a specific file in a folder? Look it up on your company network drive before asking your boss. Not sure what this word or who this person is? Do research on your company roster before asking your boss. You should try to show that you’re a self-sufficient person.
Once you find the answer, run it by your boss and ask for his or her opinion. If it looks like you’re on the right track, your boss will let you know. If you’re looking at the wrong place, they’re more eager to advise you because you’ve done your research. Heck, your boss might be impressed by you, which is the goal.
But you wouldn’t want to waste too much time looking for the answer. Here’s a trick that you can use: If after 15-minutes of research and you still can’t find the answer, ask your boss. But instead of sending them an email, “Hey I can’t find this. Where can I find it?” send the something along the following:
Hi [Manager Name],
I did a bit of research to find out more about [your task]. I looked at [places or resources where you’ve looked] but I couldn’t pinpoint exactly what I’m supposed to be doing. Will you be able to assist or point me in the right direction?”
This shows your boss that you’ve done your work or at least some work and that you need assistance after not being able to find the answer. Bosses like people who are problem solvers, which is one of the highly sought after skills for new hires.
I am not trying to say you should go out of your way to impress your boss (I mean feel free to do so if you want, but just don’t be braggy or a douche about it) but instead, focus on showing how you are a valuable asset. Show that you want to succeed in your job and that your boss made a good decision to hire you. But don’t let your boss bully you or hand you stuff that doesn’t look like you’re supposed to be doing.