How to impress your boss in two steps

The boss has a job to do and work to get done. If he/she solves the biggest problems and moves the organisation on strategically with a great team around him he gets promoted. Your own promotions will depend on how well you help him with his agenda. The most powerful and enduring way to impress is quietly with others shouting your praises. You can get so far by flashing your own lights around what you do and shouting ‘over here look at me’. Eventually you will be held back as this form tends to accrue opposition in your work colleagues and your boss will lose enthusiasm for you. If you can get those around you to enjoy working with you, doing work for you and enjoying the praise you give them you are on to a virtuous circle. Your boss will get to hear and see what you are doing and you have a strong foundation built on rock for your future promotions. The flashing and shouting approach is built on sand and eventually falls apart.

There are two steps to take in this approach to impressing your boss. The first is to make sure you know what it is he is wanting to achieve. Set this out in your own words and then check it out with colleagues around you and your boss himself. Be clear what success looks like for him. Share this with those around you. The next step is to work out who has the best skills to do the work that needs to be done. Working in teams and playing to strengths is always the way to the best results for an organisation. In today’s world knowledge shared is power rather than the old approach to a career where knowledge held was power. Knowledge held builds your career on sand and knowledge shared builds your career on rock. Working hard on what you do well and supporting and making others successful in what they do well is the biggest secret to sustained success for you. The biggest test for you is working well with people you do not naturally like or who you see as some form of threat to you. There is a lot going on when you are experiencing these feelings but if you can work well with these people and be ok about it you will be one of the best performers around. In ‘The Art of War’ one of the key pieces of advice is keep your enemies close.

Impress your boss this way and you will go far. This is how many good businessmen became CEO.

Len Williamson invites you to visit his web site at for more information on how he coaches individuals and teams. If you have a major challenge and see obstacles to progress then Len can help.

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