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5 Ways to Get Noticed When Your Boss Is Tough to Impress

Topics: Career Advice
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From Montgomery Burns to Miranda Priestly, some busy bosses are particularly tough to impress. But whether you’re new to your job or have been at it for quite some time, there are some things you can do to get your boss’s attention.

It’s important to have a good relationship with your boss in order to advance your career. But some organizations are so big or otherwise bustling that not everyone gets noticed. If you’ve ever been in this situation, you know how difficult it can be. Luckily, there are some steps you can take to stand out a little bit more and impress your boss.

1. Listen

There are all kinds of ways that being a good listener could help you with your career, getting noticed by your boss is just one of them. Always keep in mind that good listeners make the person they’re talking to feel heard, which is an active process not a passive one. Ask questions about your boss’s goals for the organization. Take notes when your boss communicates an important action item to you during a meeting. If they indicated that a certain issue was especially important, double back to it and follow up without being asked. Your boss will start to see you in a whole new light if you demonstrate that you’re really working to better understand and support them.

2. Be reliable

It might not happen right away, but chances are that if you are consistent, productive, and just generally on the ball, you will eventually get your boss’s attention. Reliable employees are tough to find, so be consistent. Show up to meetings on time. Pull your weight, or more, and reliably demonstrate what a valuable asset you are. Make it clear that you care about doing a good job and that you can be trusted to take care of any responsibilities you’re been given. That will make you indispensable. In time, your boss won’t be able to help but notice you.

3. Stop being so agreeable

It can be somewhat natural to default to pleasing behaviors when you’re trying to get someone to be impressed with you at work. But, agreeing with everything your boss does and suggests for the future probably won’t get their attention. Instead, try being original and innovative. It’s also perfectly all right to express a dissenting opinion once in a while. You’ll likely raise some eyebrows, in a good way, if you’re able to bring some solid and fresh ideas to the table. Your tough to impress boss might even start to notice you a little more because of it.

4. Be excellent…

“If you don’t do great work it’ll be difficult, if not impossible, to win over your boss, even if you follow all of the remaining suggestions well” Al Coleman, Jr. who works as an executive coach and author told Forbes. “Employees who do good work, consistently, efficiently, and professionally, are a joy to manage and ultimately allow their manager to focus on critical issues within the organization. The less your boss has to focus on your accomplishing your daily tasks, the more he or she can focus on accomplishing his or hers.”

5. …and don’t hide it

It’s important to actually be truly excellent in the first place in order for this strategy to work. Unfortunately, too often being great at your job isn’t enough to get a boss’s attention. Humility is a virtue, yes. And, being humble comes with it’s professional advantages. However, there is no time for humility when you’re trying to get your busy boss to notice you. In these instances, you have to sort of notice yourself instead.

Pay attention to your performance at work, and become aware of your strengths and your unique skills and talents. Take note of your accomplishments. Then, when you do find yourself in your boss’s company, don’t be afraid to brag a little. If your boss asks you how you are for example, don’t just reply with a rote, “fine.” Instead, try something like, “I’m doing great! I just realized I doubled my numbers from last quarter!” You can do the same kind of thing the next time you sit down to meet with your boss. If they don’t notice all of the things you’ve done, be ready to discuss a few of your biggest accomplishments since you last met.

It’s not easy to get a boss’s attention, especially when they’re already in the habit of not really noticing you. However, you should make some progress by investing some time and attention toward being sure all of your accomplishments line up with organizational goals, and through being sure that others are made aware of your valuable contributions.

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